Friday, 17 January, 2020


Japan shows 'understanding' about summit, vows to keep pressure on N. Korea

Kim Jong-un Donald Trump GETTYFresh doubt has been cast over Kim Jong-un's meeting with Donald Trump in Singapore next month
Kristine Garrett | 25 May, 2018, 19:39

In his letter to Kim, Trump cited "tremendous anger and open hostility" from North Korea as reasons for pulling out of the summit. The Washington Post reports that National Security Adviser John Bolton informed Trump around 10 p.m. Wednesday that North Korea had issued a statement calling Vice-President Mike Pence a "political dummy", and warning that the USA could either "meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown". A self-professed master negotiator, Trump could envision Nobel laurels in the offing of the unprecedented one-on-one meeting.

This time, it appears Trump at least slept on the decision, but it was still a dizzying reversal. Recent reports suggested that Trump was still resisting the detailed briefings on North Korea's nuclear capabilities that were given to previous presidents. It confirmed the mounting suspicions of the president's aides that North Korea was not serious about the talks. Before taking action, Trump made a decision to sleep on it. It was the second nation to do so in a month, dropping the number of Taiwan's formal allies to 18.

"I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me", Trump wrote.

"President Moon's very ambitious plan to redesign the security situation on the Korean peninsula will undoubtedly face a setback", he said.

Cheshire said: "By bringing South Korea and China to the table a bit more, maybe they can even get that (economic) development from them instead of the USA".

There had been hopeful signs: Kim welcomed Pompeo to Pyongyang twice, said he did not object to a USA military presence in South Korea and indicated he was willing to discuss abandoning the country's nuclear arsenal. For a time, it seemed that progress was possible and the president's unpredictable approach could yield historic gains and an only-Trump-could-go-to-Pyongyang moment. Representative Peter King said that while flying with Trump to Long Island, he said he believed the "screws" had been put to Kim and he was ready to make a deal. His supposed concessions soon appeared to ring hollow.

This week, the United States uninvited China from a major USA naval drill in response to what it sees as Beijing's militarisation of the disputed South China Sea, drawing a sharp response from China.

The North might have also sensed an opening in Trump's seemingly mixed messages.

In fact, they weren't hearing anything.

Mike Pompeo
GETTYMike Pompeo said the US would walk away from nuclear negotiations

Mr. Pompeo, testifying on Capitol Hill, said North Korea had not responded to repeated requests from USA officials to discuss logistics for the summit. "I had two meetings, maybe three hours plus, total, enough that I understood him to have understood what I was saying", the top USA diplomat told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday.

"It could even be the 12th", he added, referring to the date next month that had been set for him to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

According to Sky News Asia correspondent Tom Cheshire, who has been in North Korea to witness the dismantling of the regime's nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, Mr Kim may have achieved a lot of what he wanted anyway.

"Over the last six days the United States made numerous attempts to communicate with the North Koreans and they never responded to any of those efforts to communicate and to coordinate in advance of the 12 June summit", Pottinger added.

Some analysts had suggested, however, that China was using its leverage on North Korea, and Trump's perceived desire for a successful summit with Kim, to blunt the sharpest edges of United States trade threats.

The lengths to which the administration went to keep the meeting on track reflected Trump's personal interest in seizing the opportunity, but also an effort to shift blame to his mercurial negotiating rival.

In his statement to the North, Trump said: "If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write". They stressed, however, there was a "backdoor that's open still". Trump himself welcomed them back to the U.S.in a middle-of-the-night ceremony.

The president who has positioned himself as the ultimate deal-maker followed a hard lesson from his own negotiating playbook: he walked away.

"We even inwardly hoped that what is called "Trump formula" would help clear both sides of their worries and comply with the requirements of our side and would be a wise way of substantial effect for settling the issue", he said.

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