Merely a day after the Singapore summit with North Korean despot Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump declared North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat.”
Well, it seems now the celebrations might have been premature.
North Korea is yet to fulfill any of the promises made on the flimsy, wildly criticized “agreement” that was signed between the two leaders in Singapore.
Critics slammed the said contract for not having any timeline or reciprocative measures if the reclusive state fails to live up to its word. Many called the meeting a mere photo-op. However, Trump kept asserting how he has single-handedly averted the threat of a nuclear war when previous administrations could not have.
Now, according to The Washington Post, Trump is furious with the lack of progress over denuclearization and more importantly, how the media’s assessments — which Trump largely dismisses — have been proven true.
While Trump has publicly hailed progress with North Korea, in private, he has lashed out at aides, who face the brunt of the stiff negotiations from Kim’s officials.
Trump, reportedly has been captivated by denuclearization, asking for daily briefings on its progress — there just has not been a lot of progress.
“Trump has been hit with a strong dose of reality of North Korea’s negotiating style, which is always hard for Americans to understand,” said Duyeon Kim, a Korea expert at the Center for a New American Security.
North Korea has canceled follow-up meeting to discuss the secure return of the remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War. The hermit kingdom has demanded more money and has stood up Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at least twice. Most importantly, a missile-engine testing facility, that Trump promised would be dismantled, still stands strong.
The Trump administration has kept up a strong show of satisfaction with the “progress” over denuclearization even after North Korea slammed the U.S. for “gangster-like demands.”
Critics think the president has doubled-down on his claims of denuclearization so much, it is impossible to back away.
“Trump is too vested to walk away right now,” said Victor Cha, a North Korea expert whom the Trump administration nearly selected to be the next U.S. ambassador to Seoul. “At least until after the midterms.”
However, in recent weeks, Trump’s stance has slightly switched. Previously, he boasted of denuclearization “within a year” but he now insists there is no time limit for the process. He also said he believed Kim would honor their handshake and continue on with the process of dismantling his nuclear sites.
I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2018
With North Korea not looking likely to give up its nuclear weapons any time soon, the Trump administration’s main focus would be the repatriation of U.S. soldiers’ remains. The return would ensure North Korea’s commitment to the “agreement.” More importantly, Trump has already falsely claimed 200 soldiers’ remains have been returned.
After a couple of delays and canceled meetings, North Korea has apparently agreed to return 55 sets of remains out of the approximately 5,300 missing during the Korean conflict. The returns will be made on July 27, the 65th anniversary of the signing of an armistice that ended the war. Whether the reclusive state would stay true to its word is yet to be seen.
Moreover, it has been reported North Korea has demanded the U.S. to pay for the transportation and accommodation costs for the remains.
It seems dealing with North Korea has not been as easy as Trump has expected and despite the public show of satisfaction, any efforts towards denuclearization have been stonewalled by Kim.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Leah Millis