Executive Intelligence Review


Trump’s Korea Optimism Contrasts to Washington’s Pessimism

March 7, 2018 (EIRNS)—The reactions from the Trump Administration to the breakthrough between North and South Korea, yesterday, range from cautious optimism expressed by President Trump, to skepticism and doubt.

“I think that they are sincere. And I think they’re sincere also because of the sanctions and what we’re doing with respect to North Korea, including the great help that we’ve been given from China,”

Trump said at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden.

“And they can do more, but I think they’ve done more than, certainly, they’ve ever done for our country before. So China has been a big help. I think that’s been a factor. But the sanctions have been very, very strong and very biting. And we don’t want that to happen. So I really believe they are sincere.... We’re going to soon find out.”

A senior Trump administration official said, “We are open minded, we look forward to hearing more. But ... the North Koreans have earned our skepticism, so we’re a bit guarded in our optimism.” The official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said “our posture toward the regime will not change until we see credible moves toward denuclearization.” Vice President Mike Pence took a hardline position, declaring that all options were “on the table” until Washington sees evidence that the reclusive country was taking steps toward denuclearization. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was equally hard. “North Korea has to agree to not possess nuclear capability.... Until that happens we cannot have an agreement with them,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Maybe this is a breakthrough. I seriously doubt it. North Korea has approached conversations many times before regarding denuclearization and a freeze—and all have fallen through.”

The breakthrough and the U.S. reactions, all came after the U.S. State Department announced new sanctions on Monday (March 5) on North Korea for allegedly using VX nerve agent in the murder of Kim Jong-un’s brother in Malaysia in February 2017.