The Deal With North Korea Is Weak, But Trump Is In Denial

On Tuesday, President Trump met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore. The highly choreographed summit was heavy on pageantry, yet light on substance. The two leaders also put out a joint statement that was just over a page long. North Korea promised to work towards denuclearization but did not detail any specifics to that end. Trump offered “security guarantees” to Kim for his denuclearization efforts.

After the summit, President Trump held a news conference for over an hour. In that conference, he announced that the United States will end “war games.” He was referring to joint military exercises between the United States and South Korean militaries. He also said that Kim promised to destroy a “major” missile testing site.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, the president denied making any concessions to Kim Jong Un. Furthermore, Trump grew frustrated as reporters in the press conference questioned him about the results of the meeting. Reporters pressed the president for details he was unable to provide.

When asked about ensuring Kim’s promises, Trump snipped, “Can you ensure anything?” He added, “Can I ensure that you’re going to be able to sit down properly when you sit down? You can’t ensure anything. All I can say is they want to make a deal. That’s what I do. My whole life has been deals. I’ve done great at it. That’s what I do. And I know when somebody wants to deal, and I know when somebody doesn’t.”

The joint statement signed by both leaders said, “President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to [North Korea], and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

North Korea prefers the vague language in the statement. They prefer referring to the  “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.” Previously, the United States has called for complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization (CVID). The statement coming out of the Singapore summit did not include that language in any form.

Trump was asked if the exclusion of that specific language was a concession to Kim. Trump said it was not. He said, “I don’t think you can be any more plain than what we’re asking.” He added, “We talk about unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

Perhaps the president does not realize the list of concessions he made to Kim and the lack of concessions the North Korean dictator offered.

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