There can be no lasting peace on the Korean peninsula until the North verifiably eliminates its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
Only a year ago that goal appeared as unachievable as it had for decades, under the failed leadership of a long line of US Democratic and Republican presidents.
Enter US President Donald Trump and his highly unorthodox and often caustic approach to international diplomacy.
In less than a year his tactics went from ‘fire and fury’ to stating he has a ‘good relationship’ with Kim Jong-un. And his approach looks to be paying off where so many others failed before.
Following on the success of their initial face-to-face meeting on 12 June, Trump now says he is likely to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in January or February.
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Trump–Kim Jong-un relationship is looking positive
As AP reports, during his flight back to Washington from the G20 summit, Trump told reporters that he and Kim were ‘getting along very well. We have a good relationship’.
He also said he was intending to invite Kim to the United States sometime in the future.
The two leaders’ first meeting happened in Singapore back in June — though it was unprecedented, as was reported in Reuters in October.
Right now, there are three potential locations being considered for their second meeting.
The agenda for this meeting is entirely geared ‘to see a nuclear free Korean Peninsula’. Such a focused goal was delivered in a statement by the White House following Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit on the weekend.
The statement clarified that both Xi and Trump ‘agreed that great progress has been made with respect to North Korea’.
But US Vice President Mike Pence thinks progress isn’t enough.
Mike Pence pushing for denuclearisation plan
Pence announced last month that the upcoming Trump–Kim meeting would endeavour to solidify a plan that would de-arm Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.
He told NBC News that, though they won’t insist on a list of nuclear weapons or locations before the next summit, the US will push for a concrete plan.
‘I think it will be absolutely imperative in this next summit that we come away with a plan for identifying all of the weapons in question, identifying all the development sites, allowing for inspections of the sites and the plan for dismantling nuclear weapons.
‘Until we have a plan — and that plan is implemented — to achieve complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization, we’re going to keep the pressure on.
‘Everything begins with relationships…but now we need to see results.’
As a further push for denuclearisation, Washington has kept their sanctions on North Korea, refusing to ease them until a promising plan was in place. Naturally, North Korea has retaliated, warning the US they will continue with nuclear development unless the sanctions are lifted.
You can’t blame them. It’s all part of the negotiating progress.
All it means is that North Korea have a more selfish motive than that of world peace to denuclearise their nation.
But if it’s an ‘all sanctions lifted, peace treaty signed’ type of deal, then so be it.
A win-win situation is better than an aggressive stalemate.
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