North Must Start Disarming Before Trump Will Meet Kim: White House

Clay Curtis
March 11, 2018

Trump agreed to hold discussions with North Korea, provisionally expected sometime in May, after a South Korean delegation, which met with Kim on Monday, delivered his personal invitation for talks to the United States president.

During the briefing, Sanders repeatedly asserted that North Korea had "promised" to denuclearize and said the meeting would not take place until that process had started.

Trump said in another tweet Saturday that Abe is "is very enthusiastic about talks with North Korea" and that the two discussed how to narrow the U.S. -Japan trade deficit.

Also on Thursday, another senior administration official said, "At this point, we're not even talking about negotiations". "Time and place to be determined". North Korea was willing to stop selling missiles and North Korea was even willing to stop making missiles. They've made promises to denuclearise.

Two separate teams of USA analysts examining satellite images from January and February have concluded that the North's reactor at Yongbyon, which had appeared to be dormant, is making plutonium - a principal fuel of nuclear arms.

However, other presidents have lodged economic sanctions against North Korea, as Trump has.

Some say Trump could be setting himself up for failure amid doubts over whether Kim has any intention to relinquish a formidable atomic arsenal that he has made central to his personal stature and North Korea's standing in the world. Some aid package, along the lines of the Agreed Framework that froze the North Korean plutonium program in the 1990s, will surely be required as an inducement, and that is precisely the kind of price the Trump administration has said the United States mistakenly paid in the past.

"It's hard to know whether this is just his supreme confidence that he can get a deal done with his own business experience, or whether he is calculating that he wins either way", said Jim Steinberg, who served as deputy secretary of state under Democratic President Bill Clinton.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the meeting would be a "historical milestone" that will put the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula "really on track".

No US president has agreed to sit down with a North Korean leader - until now.

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"In the weeks before the summit, clear-eyed diplomacy and preparation will be vital, given the risks involved in such a high-stakes leaders meeting this early in a negotiation", Schiff said in a statement.

"If Trump goes at all, and expects to announce a denuclearized North Korea, he will leave disappointed and maybe angry enough to believe that talks are useless and only military options are left", Narang warned.

Evans Revere, a former senior State Department official experienced in negotiating with North Korea, warned there was a disconnect between how the North and the USA describe "denuclearisation" of the divided Korean Peninsula.

He was a strong advocate for diplomatic engagement - rather than threats of war - in dealing with North Korea, but will not now be involved in what once seemed improbable talks. It was relayed orally by the South Korean national security chief, Chung Eui Yong.

The White House pushed back against the notion that Trump's decision to meet with Kim was made in haste, with spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying, "This has been part of an ongoing campaign that's been going for over a year".

"But U.S. air superiority has not been challenged in these theaters, thus enabling air evacuation, Fazal said".

Now, if Trump wants to ensure North Korea's peaceful disarmament, an extraordinary series of things will have to fall into place.

World leaders welcomed prospects for a possible thaw in the Korea standoff including China, which is North Korea's largest trading partner and its sole major ally. The Agreed Framework broke down after USA intelligence agencies said North Korea was pursuing a second way to make bombs, using enriched uranium.

North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, Pak Song il credited the turnabout to Kimm's "broadminded and resolute" decision to contribute to peace and security in the Korean Peninsula.

GONYEA: All right. We're going to have to end it there.

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