Another unexpected bit of news from the Korean peninsula. The Vice President announced that the next summit between President Trump and Korean dictator Kim Jong-un will move ahead as planned. But there’s a catch to it. In what appears to be at least a bit of a concession to North Korea, Trump will meet with Little Rocket Man without a full list of nuclear testing and missile development sites being provided in advance. (NBC News)
The U.S. will not require North Korea to provide a complete list of its nuclear weapons and missile sites before President Donald Trump and the North’s leader Kim Jong Un meet for a second time, Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News exclusively on Thursday.
Since an initial agreement for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula was reached between Trump and Kim in June, the United States has pressed the North Koreans to provide information on the entirety of its nuclear operations. The Kim regime has refused to provide the details of the country’s operations and postponed scheduled meetings with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York City last week.
The second Trump-Kim meeting, slated for after the New Year, will be where a “verifiable plan” to disclose the sites and weapons must be reached, he said, adding: “Now we need to see results.”
The timing of this announcement is particularly odd given that just this week we learned of more than a dozen North Korean missile sites which Kim had never declared. But as I wrote in the linked article, it seemed at least possible that the timing of that revelation had some strategic value. Now that we’ve openly declared that we know where most of them are, did Kim feel some pressure to move forward with his full disclosure as Trump had previously insisted? Kim doesn’t have much to lose on that score now that the cat’s out of the bag.
Pence also insisted that we’re keeping the sanctions on until North Korea is in compliance. That’s a good sign because history has shown us that if you give Kim’s family too much up front they generally take what they can get and then walk away from the negotiations. If Trump can get him to provide full disclosure there won’t be as much incentive for Kim to keep dragging things out.
The last summit was in Singapore, but where will this one be? There have been repeated suggestions that they might even do it in New York. Perhaps I’m just a bitter old man, but I think that’s still a terrible plan. Let’s not forget that all of the recent goodwill, smiles and handshakes do nothing to change the fact that Kim Jong-un and his family are a collections of snakes and monsters. Their country probably has the worst human rights record on the planet. They’ve murdered millions and sent even more to prison camps, all while terrorizing the world with threats of nuclear devastation. The thought of him touring around the Big Apple and taking in a Broadway show like he’s some sort of respectable world leader turns my stomach.
But maybe that’s just me.