The Media is not giving us credit for the tremendous progress we have made with North Korea. Think of where we were at the end of the Obama Administration compared to now. Great meeting this week with top Reps. Looking forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at end of February!
A Pentagon report released Thursday described North Korea’s missile and nuclear program as an “extraordinary threat” to the United States, warning that the U.S. must “remain vigilant” despite ongoing diplomatic engagement with the North.
The Missile Defense Review report, introduced by President Donald Trump during a speech at the Pentagon, was released just hours ahead of a top North Korean envoy’s arrival in Washington to discuss a potential second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“While a possible new avenue to peace now exists with North Korea, it continues to pose an extraordinary threat and the United States must remain vigilant,” the report said.
Trump mentioned North Korea only in passing in his remarks, but the report emphasized that Pyongyang has invested considerable resources and undertaken extensive nuclear and missile testing “in order to realize the capability to threaten the U.S. homeland with missile attack.”
“As a result, North Korea has neared the time when it could credibly do so,” the report concluded.
Donald Trump left this week’s summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un having granted a huge last-minute concession: promising to stop what he called “war games” with South Korea.
The move reportedly blindsided both Seoul and US military officials.
Trump may have got that idea from an unusual source, the Wall Street Journal reports (paywall):
Trump had an idea about how to counter the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, which he got after speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin: If the U.S. stopped joint military exercises with the South Koreans, it could help moderate Kim Jong Un’s behavior.
That discussion between Putin and Trump reportedly happened in summer 2017. The pair have only met twice themselves, on the sidelines of diplomatic gatherings in Germany in July 2017 and in Vietnam that November.
Russia has encouraged de-escalation talks between the US and North Korea. Today, the Kremlin publicly congratulated itself for supporting the Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore, Reuters reported. “Putin was right,” a spokesman said. “The only possible path is one of direct dialogue.”
Using the military exercises as a massive negotiating chip in exchange for the North denuclearizing is a pretty orthodox policy proposal, but it stunned almost everybody that Trump seemed to be giving this away for free after his meeting.