Executive Intelligence Review


Trump Takes Lead on North Korea Denuclearization

June 4, 2018 (EIRNS)—President Trump has taken the leadership on North Korea after members of his administration, particularly Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Advisor John Bolton, expressed a hard-line stance insisting that Pyongyang give up all its nuclear programs and weapons before the United States moved to relax any sanctions.

On June 1, following his meeting with Kim Yong-chol, North Korea’s second-most-powerful official, Trump told reporters that the developing relationship with North Korea is a process, that it won’t be just the June 12 summit, clearly indicating that it will take time. “You’re talking about years of hostility; years of problems; years of, really, hatred between so many different nations,” he said. “But I think you’re going to have a very positive result in the end. Not from one meeting, but you’re going to have a very positive....”

Referring to Kim Yong-chol’s delegation, Trump told reporters, “I told them today, ‘Take your time. We can go fast. We can go slowly.’ But I think they’d like to see something happen.”

Secretary of Defense James Mattis, for his part, said during a sideline meeting he had with the Japanese and South Korean defense ministers at the Shangri-La Dialogue on June 3, that North Korea can receive sanctions relief after taking “clear and irreversible steps” to end its nuclear program, not implying that complete denuclearization had to precede any U.S. reaction. He did say the United States remains committed to the UN sanctions regime against North Korea.

Trump had also suggested, during his June 1 remarks, that steps could be taken to bring a formal end to the Korean War of 1950-53. He confirmed that he and Kim Yong-chol did, indeed, discuss that possibility. This prompted speculation in the South Korean media that South Korean President Moon Jae-in might then join the summit in Singapore.