Trump Tweets Glowing Post-Summit Letter From Kim Jong Un…Which Doesn’t Mention Denuclearization

So Donald Trump had some contentious dealings with allies during the NATO summit this week in Brussels. But as far as his relationship with North Korea is concerned, it looks like the president believes things are going along just peachy.

Trump, on Thursday afternoon, tweeted out a letter he received from Kim Jong Un, along with a translated version. The note appears to have been sent on July 5 — based on a line within which states 24 days have passed since the summit in Singapore. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Kim refers to Trump as “your excellency” five times, praises the “improvement of relations” between the U.S. and North Korea, and expresses hope for a new future. It does not, however, give any mention to the end of North Korea’s nuclear program, nor the end of the country’s regular human rights abuses.

Ever since Trump’s summit with Kim in Singapore, critics have slammed the president for not doing more to challenge Kim, elevating a dictator on the global stage, and touting a pact the two leaders signed which doesn’t provide any solid agreement for a denuclearization plan. Recent evidence actually suggests that the rogue nation continues to build up their nuclear infrastructure.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently travelled to Pyongyang to move things forward, though the North Koreans said the talks were “regrettable” afterwards, and U.S. officials were snubbed today when they were supposed to meet with Kim’s representatives on the DMZ.

Trump Tweets Glowing Post-Summit Letter From Kim Jong Un…Which Doesn’t Mention Denuclearization

Citing ‘our handshake,’ Trump says he remains confident in Kim Jong Un’s pledge to denuclearize North Korea

President Trump on Monday expressed confidence that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would make good on pledges to denuclearize, despite contentious rhetoric coming out of the country after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit over the weekend.

In a tweet, Trump cited an agreement that he and Kim signed during last month’s summit in Singapore and said “our handshake” was even more important to his assessment of Kim’s commitment.

“I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake,” Trump wrote. “We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea.”

As Pompeo left the North Korean capital Saturday, he told reporters that the trip had been “productive” and that progress had been made on a number of issues that required follow-up after the June 12 meeting between Trump and Kim.

However, the North Korean Foreign Ministry later released a lengthy statement that criticized the U.S. focus on nuclear weapons. “The U.S. side came up only with its unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization,” the North Korean statement said.

On Sunday, Pompeo sharply disputed that, saying the regime’s criticism of U.S. negotiators during his two-day visit to Pyongyang was unfounded.

“If those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster,” said Pompeo, noting that U.S. demands for North Korea to denuclearize were supported by a consensus among U.N. Security Council members.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Pompeo insisted that Pyongyang did not have an issue with the idea of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization despite the North Korean Foreign Ministry singling out the phrase in its statement.

In his Monday tweet, Trump also raised concerns about China’s commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, suggesting it could have waned because of a trade war that has broken out between the United States and China.

“China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!” Trump wrote.

Trump has drawn criticism from Democrats and even some Republicans for declaring victory in the wake of a summit that produced only a brief declaration with a striking lack of detail about the path forward.

In tweets that began as he returned to the United States, Trump declared America’s “biggest and most dangerous problem” all but resolved. And he said the deal he struck with Kim meant there was “no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” and that “everybody can now feel much safer.”

Analysts have cautioned of a difficult road ahead given decades of hostility, unkept promises, and the widespread belief, shared by U.S. intelligence agencies, that North Korea would never give up the nuclear weapons it sought for so long.

[The Washington Post]

Trump: North Korea ‘total denuclearization’ started; officials see no new moves

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday North Korea was blowing up four of its big test sites and that a process of “total denuclearization … has already started,” but officials said there was no such evidence since a landmark summit last week.

Trump said at a Cabinet meeting in the White House that “They’ve stopped the sending of missiles, including ballistic missiles. They’re destroying their engine site. They’re blowing it up. They’ve already blown up one of their big test sites, in fact it’s actually four of their big test sites.

“And the big thing is it will be a total denuclearization, which has already started taking place.”

It was not immediately clear which North Korean test sites Trump was referring to and U.S. officials familiar with current intelligence on North Korea’s nuclear and missile test sites said there was no evidence of new moves to dismantle any sites since Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, speculated Trump might have been referring to explosions last month that North Korea said were to destroy tunnels at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and the dismantling of a medium-range ballistic missile test stand at Iha-ri, also in May.

There had been contact with North Korean officials since the summit, the U.S. State Department said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “will be meeting with them and talking with them at the earliest possible date” to implement what was agreed in Singapore, spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters, without providing further details.

Asked on Wednesday if North Korea had done anything toward denuclearization since the summit, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters: “No, I’m not aware of that … obviously, it’s the very front end of a process. The detailed negotiations have not begun. I wouldn’t expect that at this point.”

Mattis sat next to Trump at Thursday’s Cabinet meeting.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s latest remarks. There also was no immediate response from the White House.

The U.S.-based North Korea monitoring group 38 North said in an analysis at the end of last week there had been no sign of any activity toward dismantling of any missile test site.

Trump, who has been leading an international drive to press North Korea to abandon development of nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States, told reporters after the June 12 summit that Kim had pledged to dismantle one of his missile installations.

A U.S. official said on Wednesday that the site Trump referred to then was the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, a major facility in the western part of the country that has been used for testing engines for long-range missiles.

[Reuters]

‘Insulting and ridiculous and ludicrous!’ Mike Pompeo blows up at reporter for asking basic question on Korea

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday exploded at an unidentified reporter who asked him a very basic question about verifying the destruction of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

Via Congressional Quarterly foreign policy reporter Rachel Oswald, a reporter questioning Pompeo about talks with North Korea asked him how he could make sure the country had committed to allowing inspectors in to verify denuclearization when there was nothing about verifying disarmament in the joint statement signed by both countries.

“I find that question insulting and ridiculous and, frankly, ludicrous,” Pompeo angrily responded. “I just have to be honest with you. It’s a game and one ought not play games with serious matters like this.”

The Trump administration has insisted that it wants North Korea to commit to the “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula. However, in the joint statement signed by the U.S. and North Korea, it only says that the country is committed to “working toward complete denuclearization.”

This distinction is important because it would give North Korea a loophole to argue that it does not need to allow inspectors into its facilities. What’s more, it could give North Korea the right to rebuild its nuclear weapons program even if it did actually go through with dismantling it.

[Raw Story]

Trump’s North Korea Summit Was a Bust

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un just completed the first ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a leader from North Korea and to Trump’s (and mostly to South Korean President Moon‘s) credit, they pulled off a first-of-its-kind summit.

But after the world had a chance to get past the spectacle, and look at the substance, it was a major bust.

The end of the summit culminated in a document signed by Trump and Un that promises a lot, and isn’t clear on how.

For example the agreement does not elaborate on what steps North Korea will take to denuclearize, no new commitments, no timetables, no definitions, all very important items for an international agreement. There were no real breakthroughs other than two leaders shaking hands.

This was the most bare-minimum statements our two countries could hope for, and right-wing news is already promoting it as the biggest event in human history.

The reality is the only actual positive good for world peace the agreement commits to is holding further negotiations led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a “relevant” North Korean official at “the earliest date possible.”

More diplomacy is always better than no diplomacy, but make no mistake what happened in Singapore was nothing but a photo op, as Fox News would say, between two dictators.

While Fox News made a slip of the tongue, we’re not. Trump has clear authoritarian tendencies that were on full display on foreign soil, such as:

All of Trump’s actions and behavior, especially after leaving a contentious G7 meeting, push us farther away from our democratic Western allies and closer to autocratic rules, like Un, Sisi, Duterte, Putin, Jinping, and Erdogan.

And as a sign of our newly found friendship with foreign dictators, Trump really went out of his way for appeasement and to make a good impression by not pushing hard on any of his stated goals, while giving up major concessions.

What North Korea Got

Agreed to “denuclearization of the entire Korean Peninsula,” this is language favored by North Korea for more than a quarter century.

Got America to agree to no demands for “verifiable” or “irreversible” denuclearization. A break from CVID (complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization) agreements in the past, such as the Iran deal that Trump ripped up for being “too weak.”

An end to “inappropriate” and “provocative” U.S.-South Korea military exercises before North Korean denuclearization.

The draw-down of U.S. troops in South Korea before North Korean denuclearization.

A vague promise about the U.S. providing personal security for the dictator Kim Jong Un. (See: Muammar Gaddafi after he gave up his nukes.)

Recognition on the world stage, something the Uns have desperately wanted since Kim’s grandfather.

A U.S. crafted North Korea propaganda video for their state television.

What America Got

The recovery of remains of Americans lost or killed during the Korean War.

No iron-clad denuclearization that Trump promised.

No peace treaty that Trump promised. (Remember calls for the Nobel Prize?)

No mention of human-rights abuses.

No mention of sanctions.

No mention of long-range missiles.

No time frame.

Future talks at some future date, but to truly understand just how little we walked away with, we’ll need a little context.

North Korea’s Track Record on Denuclearization

In 1985 North Korea signed the 1968 Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty, they broke it.

In 1992 North and South Korea signed a joint agreement of denuclearization, to not “test, manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy or use nuclear weapons.’’ North Korea broke this agreement and since done all but use them on an adversary.

Also in 1992, North Korea signed a deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency to accept inspectors and safeguards. They broke it.

In 1993, North Korea entered into bilateral talks with the United States, and promised to abandon the “threat and use of force, including nuclear weapons.”

In 1994, North Korea accepted the U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework/Six-Party Talks, under which Pyongyang offered to freeze its plutonium producing reactors and “eventually” dismantle them. They broke it.

In 2000, North Korea released a U.S.-DPRK joint communique in 2000 pledging a freeze of work on long-range missiles “of all kinds.” They broke it.

In 2005, North Korea agreed to six-party talks and to the “verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner.” A year later they detonated their first nuclear bomb.

In 2007, North Korea agreed to normalizing relations and to an Action Plan to “shut down and seal” the plutonium-producing reactors at Yongbyon, with a view to its “eventual abandonment.” They didn’t.

Later in 2007, North Korea entered into a second round of implementation plans with the U.S., pledging to “disable” all of its nuclear facilities, again with a view to later “abandonment.” They now have a nuclear weapon they can put on a missile that can hit America.

Why we got screwed

Donald Trump fashions himself this great deal-maker, but by almost any count we came away with nothing concrete on the side of North Korea and gave them concession after concession after concession.

Of course the recovery of American remains is important, especially to the families of our fallen, which we’ll be sure to see plastered all over Fox News for a few weeks to boost Trump’s historically low approval ratings.

But at the end of the day if Kim Jong Un still has nukes that can hit Denver, we’re not checking his promises, we’re not interested in inspecting his facilities, we’re asking for North Korea to be honest and just volunteer how much nuclear material they have, and there are less U.S. troops stationed in the Korean DMZ and we’re no longer coordinating with our allies in the region, these are all dangerous recipes for future families asking for the remains of their brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.

At least Trump got a nice photo op.

Trump Slams Trudeau From North Korea Summit: His Mistakes Will ‘Cost Him a Lot of Money

President Donald Trump is standing by his criticism of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — warning Trudeau that his remarks at the G7 summit will “cost him a lot of money.”

Last Friday, Trump — feeling slighted by Trudeau, who took a tough stance toward U.S. tariffs by saying he wouldn’t tolerate being “pushed around” — launched an attack via Twitter, calling the leader “dishonest” and “weak.”

In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos which aired Tuesday, immediately following the president’s meeting in Singapore with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Trump appeared to take a softer tone toward Trudeau, admitting he likes him, but suggesting he wants to punish him for his remarks.

“I actually like Justin,” Trump said. “I think he’s good. I like him. But he shouldn’t have done that. That was a mistake. That’s gonna cost him a lot of money”

According to Trump’s account of the moment, G7 attendees were content following the conclusion of the meetings until Trudeau took his stand.

“Everybody was happy, and then he gave out a little bit of an obnoxious thing,” Trump said of the prime minister.

The president repeated his threats to make Canada pay during a press conference in Singapore after his visit with Kim ended

“I have a good relationship with Justin Trudeau,” Trump told the crowd. “I really did. Other than he had a news conference that he had cause he assumed I was in an airplane and I wasn’t watching. He learned, that’s going to cost a lot of money to the people of Canada.”

[Mediaite]

Media

Trump promises to get back to work and stop obsessing over ‘Rigged Russia Witch Hunt’

President Donald Trump offered a false apology Tuesday morning and promised to stop obsessing over the special counsel investigation — after tweeting four times about the probe in one hour.

The president accused “Angry Democrats” of “meddling” in the upcoming midterm elections with a sprawling investigation of his 2016 presidential campaign’s ties to Russia and other foreign governments, which has resulted in five guilty pleas and 17 indictments.

He tweeted twice more about the investigation before promising to get back to work.

“Sorry, I’ve got to start focusing my energy on North Korea Nuclear, bad Trade Deals, VA Choice, the Economy, rebuilding the Military, and so much more, and not on the Rigged Russia Witch Hunt that should be investigating Clinton/Russia/FBI/Justice/Obama/Comey/Lynch etc.,” the president tweeted.

[Raw Story]

Trump, Giuliani hint at release of Americans detained in North Korea

President Donald Trump hinted late Wednesday that three Americans detained in North Korea could soon be released as he prepares for a potential summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“As everybody is aware,” Trump tweeted, “the past Administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail. Stay tuned!”

Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, appeared to confirm the news Thursday morning during a FOX News appearance in which he remarked: “We’ve got Kim Jong Un impressed enough to release three prisoners today.”

The developments follow last week’s historic meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Trump’s new national security adviser, John Bolton, earlier said that releasing the Americans — Kim Hak-song, Kim Dong-chul and Kim Sang-duk, who also goes by Tony Kim — would be a “demonstration of their sincerity” in the lead-up to the U.S.-North Korea summit.

Relatives of one of the men said they are “hopeful” amid the unconfirmed reports that they could soon be released.

South Korean media reports quoted a local activist as saying North Korea had relocated the trio from a labor camp to a hotel on the outskirts of Pyongyang.

“We cannot confirm the validity of these reports,” a State Department official said.

[NBC News]

Reality

Two of the three prisoners were only jailed after Mr Trump’s inauguration last year and amid an escalating feud between the Republican and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.