U.S., North Korea Agree to Korean Denuclearization; Details Remain Scant
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by Causes | 6.12.18
- U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un have concluded their historic summit with a pledge that North Korea will completely denuclearize in exchange for security guarantees from the United States.
- The statement the two leaders signed offered limited detail as to how those goals might be achieved. At a subsequent press conference, Trump said, “Some things were agreed and not reflected in the agreement.” He said international sanctions on North Korea would remain in place for the time being.
A surprise for South Korea?
- In the press conference, Trump also said the United States would halt joint military exercises with South Korea — a long-standing sore point for North Korea — and would not resume “unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should.”
- Stopping the exercises is generally regarded as a major concession, something the United States has previously rejected as non-negotiable on the grounds that the exercises were a key element of its military alliance with South Korea, as well as an important deterrent to North Korea.
- Trump’s announcement appears to have taken both the South Korean government and U.S. forces in South Korea by surprise, with statements from both entities expressing confusion and uncertainty.
- “It is unclear if further negotiations will lead to the end goal of denuclearization,” Anthony Ruggiero, senior fellow of Washington’s Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, told Reuters. “This looks like a restatement of where we left negotiations more than 10 years ago and not a major step forward.”
- A Bloomberg opinion piece cautions that Trump’s break with precedent to get Kim to the table may lead to broader risks, concluding:
For seven decades, Washington has equated its own interests with the preservation of a U.S. global economic and security system. Trump does not. That may be why this time with North Korea is different. But I’m not sure it’s a cause for hope.
- A Fox News opinion piece says that Trump should give Kim 30 days to produce a denuclearization plan, or intensify sanctions:
We must make absolutely sure that North Korea does not attempt to implement its old diplomatic playbook by stalling for time and negotiating for months or years over the details of its nuclear program surrender – only for Washington to never see any real progress.
- A Washington Post opinion piece notes the contrast between Trump’s warm approach to Kim — who “may be considered the world’s greatest human rights abuser and a totalitarian collector of nuclear weapons” — and his combative stance several days earlier toward some of the United States’ closest allies.
- A Daily Beast opinion piece describes the summit as a bust for the United States: “The only language on ‘denuclearization’ the two sides agreed on in their joint statement was complete pablum, and it puts the future relationship with South Korea in doubt.”
- The Wall Street Journal summarized the summit’s outcome:
President Donald Trump won few specific new commitments from Kim Jong Un to surrender his nuclear weapons after a day of talks, but kick-started a new phase of personal diplomacy aimed at pushing the North Korean leader toward a rapid and verifiable disarmament.
What do you think?
Was the summit with North Korea more form than substance? Was it an important step in the right direction? What needs to happen next in order for this engagement to be successful? Hit Take Action, then share your thoughts below.
— Sara E. Murphy
(Photo Credit: geralt / 17716 images)
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