President Donald J. Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be an historic encounter between two supremely self-confident, headstrong, and mercurial men, each seeking the other’s surrender..
The irresistible force of Donald Trump, whose administration has declared it will never accept, allow, or tolerate a North Korean nuclear threat to America, will soon meet the immovable object of a North Korean regime that has declared it will never give up its nuclear weapons “even in a dream.” What could possibly go wrong?
President Trump agreed to the summit on a whim, surprising his advisers and the South Korean envoys who conveyed Kim Jong-un’s invitation. Had he discussed the invitation with his advisers first, he would have heard that Kim’s reported interest in a deal on “denuclearization of the whole Korean Peninsula” is nothing of the kind.
Those who have negotiated nuclear matters with Pyongyang know that Kim’s words were a familiar North Korean demand to end the “threat” posed by the U.S.-South Korea alliance, the presence of U.S. troops in Korea, and the nuclear umbrella that defends South Korea and Japan.
A senior North Korean official once explained to a group of American experts, “If you remove those threats, we will feel more secure and in ten or twenty years’ time we may be able to consider denuclearization. In the meantime,” he continued, “we are prepared to meet with you as one nuclear weapon state with another to discuss arms control.”
That is North Korea’s concept of “denuclearization.” It bears no resemblance to the American definition.
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