Trump Pulls Plug on US-North Korea Summit [VIDEO]
Trump Pulls Plug on US-North Korea Summit [VIDEO]
This morning, President Trump cancelled the United States – North Korean Summit in Singapore. In a masterfully worded letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the president displayed all the subtleties learned over decades of deal-making, while explicitly reminding them who has the whip hand in the relationship. The North Koreans have given back their hostages and been thanked handsomely for it. They’ve supposedly blown up their nuclear testing facility at Punggye-ri.
WHAT a thing of beauty. After multiple administrations dancing with North Koreans calling the tune in an oh-so-familiar routine, it must be absolutely gobsmacking for them to bang into one that doesn’t respond to bluster with concessions. And politely threaten them with annihilation.
The first public hint something might be amiss surfaced last week, when the North took issue with John Bolton. Arguably known for a jaundiced view of lying, manipulative nuclear dictatorships, Bolton has been despised by the regime for years. But it was a Sunday talk show appearance – and a reference to Libya – that set them off. Or gave them an opening…
“Pyongyang appears to hope that Trump’s desire for a win and the show of the summit will have him marginalize Bolton if forced to choose between his approach and the summit,” she added.
Rosenberger and others called it revealing that Tuesday’s bellicose statement from a top North Korean diplomat focused on Bolton, without criticizing Trump personally. It denounced hard-line remarks the Trump aide made in Sunday interviews that set a high bar for Pyongyang to roll back its nuclear program prior to any sanctions relief.
“We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feelings of repugnance toward him,” said the statement, issued by the state-run Korean Central News Agency and attributed to Kim Kye Gwan, a top foreign ministry official and arms negotiator.
…Trump, for instance, has said that a deal with Kim to dismantle his nuclear complex is “very much in the making” and “will be good for the world.” On Sunday, Bolton took a far more cautious tone, suggesting that the Kim summit might be little more than a listening session: “It may be that Kim Jong Un has some ideas, and we should hear him out,” Bolton said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Particularly infuriating the North Koreans was Bolton’s invocation on Sunday of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s decision to surrender his early-stage nuclear weapons infrastructure. Tuesday’s official statement made several references to Libya, noting that the country had since “met [a] miserable fate.”
There wasn’t a lot of concern, as Bolton has always been a polarizing figure and people had been expecting to North Koreans to revert to form at some point. (Frankly, they’d been surprised they hadn’t done so this far into the process.) Trump adroitly played the diplomat and distanced himself from Bolton’s comments, while conceding nothing strategically.
During a meeting Thursday with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump said the U.S. wouldn’t repeat the model that saw Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi agree to end his nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief.
“The Libyan model is not a model that we have at all when we are thinking of North Korea,” Trump said. “In Libya, we decimated that country. That country was decimated.”
Fast forward to this past Sunday and an interview with Vice-President Mike Pence. The Libya specter was raised again, and, again, the North Koreans went ballistic publicly.
A senior North Korean official has dismissed remarks by US Vice-President Mike Pence as “stupid”, casting further uncertainty about a planned meeting between the two countries’ leaders.
Choe Son-hui said the North would not “beg” for dialogue and warned of a “nuclear showdown” if diplomacy failed.
…Ms Choe, in an article carried by the state news agency KCNA on Thursday, said Mr Pence had made “unbridled and impudent remarks”.
She added: “As a person involved in US affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing from the mouth of the US vice-president.
“Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behaviour of the United States.”
This all played out in the press and airwaves. Unbeknownst at the time? As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified today, NOTHING was happening in back channels to get the actual summit scheduled.
North Korean officials were unresponsive to messages from their State Department counterparts amid preparations for the now-canceled June 12 summit https://t.co/wApNr4ojTE
— POLITICO (@politico) May 24, 2018
In point of fact, there were NO North Koreans to set up a summit with. “Kim ghosted us.”
The North Korean government completely ignored the Trump administration’s efforts to nail down details of a planned June 12 nuclear arms summit in Singapore, effectively disappearing in the middle of pre-meeting protocol negotiations.
In testimony during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Pompeo said there was no chance of ‘a successful outcome,’ in some part because Kim’s team was AWOL when it counted.
‘Over the past many days we have endeavored to do what Chairman Kim and I had agreed, [which] was to put teams, preparation teams together, to begin to work to prepare for the summit,’ he told senators. ‘And we had received no response to our inquiries from them.’
In years past, that tactic might have worked with an administration so desperate for a deal AND a high profile summit, that they’d give an inch (or a mile) to keep rolling. As well as not to be painted the “bad guys,” which the North Koreans are expert in messaging at.
But Trump’s not that guy. He has conditions for the deal, he has the upper hand and was willing to meet to discuss it. Or not.
He’ll walk away.
And he did.
There’s a line from “Patton” where the general yells,
“Rommel! You magnificent bastard! I READ YOUR BOOK!”
Inconceivable Kim doesn’t have a copy.