A Good Start – Peace in Korea?

It wasn’t a peace treaty, nor did it even bring us to the point where it could be said that peace is near. But the joint statement laying out the intentions of the two countries which was signed by President Trump and Kim Jung Un of North was a historic first step toward peace.

It outlined that Trump committed to providing security guarantees to North Korea, while Kim had “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

But as President Reagan used to say, “the devil is in the details.” Those details need to be worked out for a final treaty, and there are many potholes ahead that present the possibility to slow down or even utterly destroy the chance of a peace treaty.

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The agreement signed in Singapore includes loose commitments by the two countries:

  • The US and DPRK work for “peace and prosperity”
  • The two nations will work for a “stable peace” on the peninsula.
  • They will “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
  • “The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA

Trump was optimistic that Kim would follow through on his commitment and claimed that the North Korean leader would start the process the moment he landed in Pyongyang.

After the declaration had been signed according to the POTUS, the despot with the funny hair agreed to something not in the deal, to destroy “a major missile engine testing site.” And in turn, the President agreed to end military exercises that the U.S. has long conducted with South Korea in the region. “They’re tremendously expensive,” he said. “I think it’s inappropriate to be having war games ” while trying to make peace

US leaders have consistently called for “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” but the agreement only calls for complete denuclearization. Per the President, details about making the denuclearization permanent and verifiable need to be negotiated.

And there’s the rub. North Korea has promised denuclearization before, but they never agreed to verification. President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo are well aware of the history and even during the post-summit press conference, the POTUS assured the nation about verification.

Reporter:   Mr. President, this joint statement does not talk about verifiable or irreversible denuclearization.

Pres. Trump:  Yeah.

Reporter:   Was that a concession on the part of the United States?

Pres. Trump:  No, not at all.  Because if you look at it, I mean, it said we are going to — let’s see here — it will be gone.  I don’t think you can be anymore plain than what we’re asking — “issues related to the establishment of the new U.S. DPRK relations” — the building.  We talk about the guarantees, and we talk about “unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”  This is the document that we just signed.

Reporter: Did you discuss with Chairman Kim methods to verify, either with the United States or international organizations, that very process?  And do you have a timetable —

Pres. Trump:  Yes, we did.  Yes, we did.  And we’ll be verifying.

Reporter: Can you give that to us?

Pres. Trump:  Yeah, we’ll be verifying.  It will be verified.

Reporter:   How is that going to be achieved, Mr. President?

Pres. Trump:  Well, it’s going to be achieved by having a lot of people there, and as we develop a certain trust.  And we think we have done that.  Secretary Pompeo has been really doing a fantastic job — his staff, everybody.  As we do that, we’re going to have a lot of people there, and we’re going to be working with them on a lot of other things.  But this is complete denuclearization of North Korea, and it will be verified.

Reporter:    Will those people be Americans or international —

Pres. Trump:  Uh, combinations of both.  Combinations of both.  And we have talked about it, yes. As we do that, we’re going to have a lot of people there, and we’re going to be working with them on a lot of other things.  But this is complete denuclearization of North Korea, and it will be verified.

Negotiations to complete an agreement will begin immediately, and while the talks continue, America will continue to hold Kim’s chubby little feet to the fire. In fact, Secretary of State Pompeo confirmed the sanctions will remain in place until the denuclearization is complete.

So where are we?


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