Talks with NKorea mark start
President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at their summit in Singapore, made the challenge of improving relations between the two countries seem easy, with both leaving the historic meeting with a signed accord.
But the months — perhaps years — ahead will judge whether the results from the summit stack up at all to President Richard M. Nixon’s seven-day February 1972 official visit to the People’s Republic of China, which was the key step in normalizing relations between the U.S. and China, ending a quarter-century of non-communication and no diplomatic ties.
Despite the hopeful signs that emerged from this week’s important meeting, still hanging on the tree of suspicion is whether Kim’s ultimate intention is dictatorial control over the entire Korean Peninsula by duping this country into relaxing its guard over the security of its South Korea ally.
For many people who were wary of the summit’s being held at all, as well as those people cautiously optimistic since plans for the meeting were announced, Trump’s willingness to end joint war games with South Korea — activities that were a source of North Korean agitation — seems potentially problematic.
There’s a similar opinion regarding Trump’s stated hope of bringing home the 30,000 American troops stationed in South Korea, which, even if it happens, should not be done hastily, but in steps.
There must be verifiable evidence that Kim is living up to his stated intention of denuclearization.
A quick indication of his sincerity would be for him to make good soon on his unwritten pledge to Trump to close a missile engine facility.
For now, what the two leaders have in hand is but a statement of intent offering no concrete timetable for denuclearization progress.
It’s important to remember that Trump’s three White House predecessors secured commitments from North Korea on denuclearization — commitments on which North Korea subsequently reneged.
What lies ahead will be important to watch, both in terms of the Trump administration and congressional lawmakers who rightly want to have a role in what happens, going forward.
But for the world in general, the fact that the United States and North Korea are talking, rather than heaving verbal insults at one another and threatening thermonuclear war, represents a welcomed source of relief — an accomplishment.
Kim declared that the world would see a major positive change as a result of what occurred this week.
Hopefully nothing will scuttle such an outcome.