Global politics is complicated. That is a basic observation, but at times, it’s one that U.S. President Donald Trump seems intent on ignoring. After just one summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this year, he proclaimed the issue of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal to be “largely solved.”
It wasn’t. In the time since his initial meeting with Kim, negotiations between the two sides covering a possible substantive way forward have stalled. Now, The Washington Post reports that behind the scenes Trump is “frustrated,” reporting that he has “fumed at his aides in private even as he publicly hails the success of the negotiations.”
The North Korean government has thrown down serious roadblocks to the implementation of Trump’s utopian vision, cancelling planned meetings and refusing to commit to specific ways forward on issues as straightforward as the return of the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War.
Trump has touted that possible transfer of the remains of lost soldiers as a selling point of his negotiations with North Korea, infamously claiming the development to fulfill the wishes of parents of fallen soldiers who had spoken to him during the campaign season. To be clear, though, parents of such individuals would no doubt be well over 100 years old.
He claimed that hundreds of soldiers’ remains have already been sent back, but that claim was “premature.” As recently as July 12, U.S. officials led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set a meeting with their North Korean counterparts to discuss the issue, but the North Koreans never showed, eventually calling to formally cancel. North Korea scholar at the conservative Heritage Foundation Bruce Klingner called the move “leaving another U.S. official at the altar,” adding:
‘Pyongyang has reverted to its heavy-handed negotiating tactics.’
Before the July 12 debacle, Pompeo himself had been set to meet again with Kim Jong Un during a trip to the country but Kim didn’t go along with that idea.
As The Post notes, the developments were feared by analysts, but their possibility was largely ignored by the president. He wielded an anti-Semitic slur and attacked “sleepy eyes Chuck Todd” of MSNBC after the cable host pointed out how little North Korea was actually giving up.
Despite Trump claiming the North Koreans to have agreed to denuclearization, in the time since his initial meeting with Kim, the North Koreans continue to secure their nuclear program.
Now, at least one analyst fears that the U.S. president could soon revert to his past antagonistic rhetoric.
Korea expert at the Center for a New American Security Duyeon Kim commented:
‘I worry that Trump might lose patience with the length and complexities of negotiations that are common when dealing with North Korea and walk away and revert back to serious considerations of the military option. Getting to a nuclear agreement takes a long time, and implementing it will be even harder.’
Trump has not proven keen on waiting the process out, instead opting to rush to proclaim victories where he can no matter the actual situation on the ground. That modus operandi is not paying off.
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