Trump’s Critics in Shock as North Korea Vows to Give Up Nukes
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly told President Moon Jae-in of South Korea that he will give up his nuclear weapons program in exchange for certain concessions from the United States, including an official end to the Korean War and a promise from the Trump administration that there will be no invasion of his country.
The news, delivered by South Korean government spokespeople, followed an unprecedented summit between the two Korean leaders this weekend. On Friday, Kim became the first North Korean leader to cross the DMZ into South Korean territory, and the two leaders reportedly agreed to end the Korean War. While an official end to the war cannot be declared without the signature of the United States, the summit marks what could be the beginning of a shocking new era in Peninsula politics and a dramatic turnaround from the terroristic threats Kim has been spewing for the last year.
The South Korean press release included several quotes from Kim Jong Un that appeared to show that the North Korean dictator was in a much more conciliatory mood.
“I know the Americans are inherently disposed against us,” Kim reportedly said. “But when they talk with us, they will see that I am not the kind of person who would shoot nuclear weapons to the south, over the Pacific or at the United States.”
Kim, of course, has threatened many times to do just that.
During the summit, Kim was understandably reluctant to lay out specific details of his willingness to walk away from his nukes, but complete disarmament does seem to be on the table.
“If we meet often and build trust with the United States and if an end to the war and nonaggression are promised, why would we live in difficulty with nuclear weapons?” Kim said.
World leaders are hopeful that Kim is sincere and reasonable in his efforts to try diplomacy rather than nuclear threats, but there is some natural skepticism from observers who have watched Pyongyang play this game for a long time. While our current situation is a new one, North Korea has promised denuclearization in the past, only for negotiations to fall through when Pyongyang goes back on its word. In comments Friday, President Trump emphasized this line between optimism and skepticism.
“It’s never gone this far,” he said of the path towards a de-fanged North Korea. “This enthusiasm for them wanting to make a deal. We are going to hopefully make a deal.”
But Trump warned that he was not about to “repeat the mistakes of past administrations.”