Corea del Norte

Hanoi Summit Misfires

The meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, held on 27-28 February in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, was a disappointment. The parties announced that they had failed to reach an agreement. According to the post-summit statements made by Donald Trump and DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, the main stumbling block was the price that the North Koreans demanded in exchange for the dismantling of their nuclear centre in Yongbyon.

Pyongyang insisted that the Americans should lift their economic sanctions against the DPRK, which were detailed in five resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in 2016 and 2017.…  Seguir leyendo » “Hanoi Summit Misfires”

President Donald Trump with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as they headed to a meeting at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Having participated in nuclear negotiations with North Korea, I know what failure smells like. The truncated Hanoi summit, which concluded abruptly without an agreement between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, carried an awful stench.

There were high expectations for this second meeting of American and North Korean leaders after the lack of progress on denuclearization commitments made at their first summit, in Singapore last summer. And yet, not only did Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim fail to offer more empty promises, they even dispensed with signing a joint statement, canceled their planned ceremonial lunch, and skipped the joint news conference.

This outcome shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise.…  Seguir leyendo » “Will Trump Take Us Back to ‘Fire and Fury’?”

There were encouraging signs leading up to the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. For his part, Trump signaled a subtle but important shift in his approach toward North Korea’s denuclearization — repeatedly saying, “Speed is not important to me” and “I’m in no rush.” This indicated Trump finally was beginning to accept what most nonproliferation experts have been saying all along: That denuclearization of North Korea will be a long and complex process that may last over a decade.

The good vibes continued through the summit, as the usually reclusive Kim showed signs of opening up.…  Seguir leyendo » “The pressure is on Kim Jong Un after failure in Hanoi”

En Hanói, Vietnam, Kim Jong-un, el líder norcoreano de 35 años, se reunirá en su segunda cumbre con el Presidente estadounidense Donald Trump. No solo buscará un acuerdo sobre el tema nuclear, sino que apuntará a un objetivo de más largo plazo: sacar a su país del aislamiento diplomático, mitigar la presión de años de sanciones económicas internacionales y reformar el “reino ermitaño”, sumido en la pobreza, para afianzarse en el poder en las décadas futuras.

A medida que Kim prepara el rumbo futuro de su país, tal vez advierta que el propio historial de Vietnam en las últimas tres décadas es el modelo más útil de imitar.…  Seguir leyendo » “El modelo vietnamita para Corea del Norte”

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un meet at the start of their summit at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore 12 June 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

What has happened since the first U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore?

At the conclusion of the Singapore summit last June, the U.S. and North Korea issued a statement calling for a new bilateral relationship, a stable peninsular peace regime, efforts toward denuclearisation of the peninsula, and the recovery of U.S. soldiers’ remains from the Korean War. The statement lacked detail as to how and when these goals might be achieved. These gaps had the advantage of not setting the bar too high, but the pervasive vagueness was criticized.

The lack of clear direction from Singapore contributed to patchy dialogue through the rest of the year and – though both sides took what might be viewed as confidence-building steps – no major progress was made.…  Seguir leyendo » “All Eyes on Tangible Results from U.S.-North Korea Summit”

Trump Meets Kim Jong-un This Week

And so they meet again. President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the ruler of North Korea, are expected to gather this week in Hanoi, Vietnam, for a second round of nuclear negotiations. Mr. Kim bested Mr. Trump at their first meeting in Singapore in June last year. And he is poised to do so again.

The reason is simple: He has a strategy and the Americans do not. The United States hopes to somehow keep the world safe from North Korea. But Mr. Kim has an actual plan to make the world safe for North Korea.

Mr. Kim’s plan — the same as his father’s and grandfather’s, and one breathtakingly revisionist — is nothing less than unconditional reunification of the Korean Peninsula under the control of his government in Pyongyang.…  Seguir leyendo » “Trump Meets Kim Jong-un This Week. There’ll Be One Winner”

New Trump-Kim Summit: Double Freeze Proposal Seems to Work

The first summit outlined the general framework of the new relations but the second should be devoted to solving more specific tasks. During the negotiations the sides will try to agree on specific mutual concessions. On the one hand, each side will seek to present the outcomes of the summit as its own victory, and this is much more important for Trump, since he relies on public opinion to a much greater extent than Kim. On the other hand, neither side is ready to take any actions that may affect its prestige and/or defense capability.

Both Trump and Kim are taking risks but in different ways.…  Seguir leyendo » “New Trump – Kim Summit: Double Freeze Proposal Seems to Work”

A second U.S.-North Korea summit

There are reasons for concern about a second U.S.-North Korea summit. If there is no tangible movement on denuclearization, public support for dialogue with North Korea will erode quickly, with the potential for a return to a policy of “maximum pressure.” If this were to happen, it would be a major diplomatic failure with far reaching consequences.

In 2017, when North Korea had 18 ballistic missile launches, to include two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) launches capable of reaching the United States, and a test of a thermonuclear warhead, the prospect of military conflict with North Korea was real.

Fortunately, Kim Jong-un quickly pivoted, in his January 2018 New Year’s address, to an appeal for better relations with South Korea and the United States, stating that a nuclear North Korea could now focus exclusively on economic development.…  Seguir leyendo » “A second U.S.-North Korea summit”

FILE - In this undated file photo distributed on Sept. 16, 2017, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, attends what was said to be the test launch of an intermediate range Hwasong-12 missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea. U.S President Donald Trump announced Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 during his State of the Union address that he intends to meet Kim on Feb. 27-28, 2019 in Vietnam, saying that although much work remains to be done toward peace on the Korean Peninsula, his relationship with Kim is a good one. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

President Trump, born in 1946, now has another opportunity to go to Vietnam.

At his State of the Union address Tuesday night, the president announced his long-awaited second summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. It will be held at the end of the month in Vietnam, he said. While Mr. Trump did not disclose the specific location of the meeting, the confab will be in the coastal city of Da Nang, according to multiple sources.

The choice of venue is instructive. Da Nang, a bustling city about halfway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (nee Saigon), combines industry and shipping with resort amenities and beaches.…  Seguir leyendo » “Can North Korea become Vietnam? Probably not”

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, left, and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea during the third Inter-Korean summit meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea.CreditCreditPool photo by Pyongyang Press Corps

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea returned from Pyongyang this week bearing fresh messages of good will from Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader: promises to permanently dismantle a test site and a missile-launch pad and to shutter a major nuclear facility. The pledges — “subject to final negotiations,” as President Trump artfully put it — have already been criticized as half-steps, if not traps. There still is no road map or timeline for the complete denuclearization of North Korea.

But the prevailing preoccupation with defense issues obscures a truly notable feature of Mr. Moon’s visit: the group of business leaders he brought along, including from Samsung and South Korea’s other major conglomerates.…  Seguir leyendo » “Kim Jong-un Has a Dream. The U.S. Should Help Him Realize It”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend an official welcome ceremony at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport, in Pyongyang, North Korea, 18 September 2018 yeongyang Press Corps/Pool via REUTERS

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea arrived in Pyongyang early on Tuesday for a three-day visit. The outcomes of this summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will set the tempo for the remainder of 2018 and beyond. But progress between the two Koreas is partly dependent on reversing the decline in U.S.-North Korean engagement since the 12 June meeting in Singapore between Kim and President Donald Trump.

For North Korea, the diplomatic dance began on 9 September with the 70th anniversary of its establishment as a separate state, celebrated with a military parade in Kim Il-sung Square and a revival of the country’s famed gymnastic displays, the Mass Games.…  Seguir leyendo » “Getting the U.S. in Step with the Koreas’ Diplomatic Dance”

Major Gen. Kim Do-gyun of South Korea, center, shaking hands with a North Korean officer as he crossed the military demarcation line in June.CreditCreditSouth Korean Defense Ministry, via Getty Images

South Korea and North Korea recently announced plans for a third summit meeting between their two leaders, to take place in Pyongyang in September. From family reunions to fielding a joint sports team in the upcoming Asian Games, the two Koreas are moving forward with steps to further détente on the peninsula.

By contrast, the United States has done very little in the two months since the Singapore summit between President Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to advance the relationship.

The United States appears to be waiting for the North to take the next step. But the Trump administration is ignoring the reality that to reach a final deal on the eventual denuclearization of North Korea, the United States must give something substantial in return.…  Seguir leyendo » “Why Should North Korea Give Up Its Nuclear Weapons?”

Trump, el antiestadounidense

El encuentro entre Donald Trump y Kim Jong-un pasará a la historia como una de las páginas más siniestras del Imperio Americano. Singapur 2018, Múnich 1938: ¿cómo no comparar estas dos infamias? En Múnich, el Gobierno británico y el francés entregaron los Sudetes checos a Adolf Hitler con la esperanza, debido a su cobardía y a su incomprensión del adversario, de comprar la paz. Winston Churchill declaró entonces: «Entre la guerra y el deshonor, habéis elegido el deshonor, y tendréis la guerra». De la misma manera, Trump, aunque no lo sabe, ha sacrificado en Singapur el honor de EE.UU. y la vida del pueblo norcoreano, esclavizado por uno de los regímenes más demenciales del mundo.…  Seguir leyendo » “Trump, el antiestadounidense”

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signing a joint declaration at the Capella Singapore on 12 June 2018. Standing behind them are the North Korean leader's sister Kim Jo Yong and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Kevin Lim / ST / Singapore Press Holdings

Doubts and questions swirled before the momentous 12 June summit in Singapore between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Could any good come of a meeting for which preparation seemed to be last-minute and inadequate? Was one of the two unconventional, risk-taking leaders going to pull a rabbit out of a hat? Whose purposes would the summit serve? Was it theatre channelling the domestic political compulsions of Trump and/or Kim? Would it live up to the hopes and calm the fears of U.S. allies South Korea and Japan? Would it bolster or weaken regional security and the balance of power?…  Seguir leyendo » “After the Trump-Kim Summit: Now Comes the Hard Part”

North Korean defectors protested in Seoul in May.CreditChung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Donald Trump is well known for liking people he thinks are tough. Not war heroes like Senator John McCain, or Gold Star parents like Khizr and Ghazala Khan, but authoritarians like Vladimir Putin of Russia, whom he’s hailed as a “strong leader,” or China’s president for life, Xi Jinping, “a good man” for whom the president has “great respect.”

Now the president has discovered a new figure of admiration.

In an interview that aired on Fox Wednesday evening, Bret Baier asked Mr. Trump about Kim Jong-un: “You sometimes call people killers. He is a killer. He’s clearly executing people,” said the Fox News anchor, all but spelling out the right answer for Mr.…  Seguir leyendo » “Kim Jong-un Isn’t Tough. North Koreans Are.”

After three months of palace intrigue, speculation and on-again-off-again pronouncements, the Singapore summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un is finally upon us. The core question is whether this historic meeting between two idiosyncratic leaders who were just months ago exchanging taunts like “Little Rocket Man” and “dotard,” and one-upping each other’s threats of nuclear annihilation, can help find a path toward denuclearization and stability for the Korean Peninsula.

We both worked in the Obama White House but this is not a partisan matter and we are rooting wholeheartedly for this administration’s success. Nobody will benefit if the leaders walk away from the summit disappointed and frustrated, and there’s certainly some risk of that.…  Seguir leyendo » “Why Trump Should Take It Slow With Kim Jong Un”

President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea meet for the first time on Sentosa Island, Singapore.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

There is a phrase in Korean: “Begun is half-done.” It means when tackling a difficult task, half of the battle is getting started.

Despite the many warts in President Trump’s unconventional diplomacy toward North Korea, we have to give him credit. Only five months ago, based on my conversations with this administration, I thought we were headed down an inexorable path toward a devastating war.

A military attack would not have ended North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Instead, it would have resulted in a war — with hundreds of thousands of deaths in Japan and South Korea, including thousands of Americans — that the United States would have won but with horrible costs.…  Seguir leyendo » “Trump and Kim Have Just Walked Us Back From the Brink of War”

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, arriving in Singapore for a summit meeting with President Trump.CreditSingapore's Ministry of Communications and Information, via Reuters

North Korea has arrived as a nuclear power, and there is no going back. Once the reality-show theatrics of the Singapore summit meeting subside, we are left with the reality that North Korea was just recognized as a de facto nuclear weapons power.

President Trump went to the meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea to try to take the keys to Mr. Kim’s nuclear kingdom. Whatever the terms of the statement released at the end of the meeting, Mr. Kim has not committed to anything concrete. He is not surrendering North Korea’s nuclear weapons and has walked away the big winner.…  Seguir leyendo » “North Korea Is a Nuclear Power. Get Used to It.”

The document signed by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un after their meeting in Singapore. Photo: Getty Images.

If success is to be defined in terms of starting a high-level negotiation process, then the summit meeting of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un was a success. But if success is defined in terms of content, then the summit has failed because it did not deliver any substance that went beyond what has been agreed previously.

President Trump did mention that North Korea will destroy a missile engine test site as a practical step – and they have already destroyed the warhead test site. But this is not necessarily an indication of long-term policy change. Neither leader made a public commitment that North Korea will halt its nuclear weapons programme – a promising indicator would have been Kim Jong-un agreeing to provide an inventory of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.…  Seguir leyendo » “US–North Korea Summit Statement Lacks Definition”

On the roads just outside Singapore’s Capella Hotel last Friday, gardeners were replanting the flower beds and laborers were touching up road markings, shading their heads from the fierce midday heat. Two uniformed men stood by the resort’s long driveway armed with clipboards and walkie-talkies, ushering curious onlookers away. “We have a private meeting inside,” one said.

Private, but not exactly secret. On Tuesday, the sprawling complex on Sentosa, Singapore’s “pleasure island,” is preparing to host the most anticipated diplomatic meeting in recent history, as President Trump meets with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. As wild peacocks roam around the swimming pools and grand colonial buildings, the two leaders are expected to talk denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.…  Seguir leyendo » “Trump and Kim’s Secluded Singapore Pleasure Island”