It’s been almost 70 years…70 long years of animosity and mistrust and it all came to an end on Tuesday, June 12th at around 2:30 am EST when President Donald J. Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un signed a document at the NOKO Summit putting the past behind together signaling a new day not just for our two nations but for the world as well.
And getting to that new day has seen many bumps along the way but the fact is we’re here now. And some are still in awe as to how we got here…and what took so long…but to understand that we must visit the past to truly appreciate the great possibilities the future now holds.
Let’s start with the fact that U.S. policy towards North Korea has always been to “deter conflict” on the peninsula, prevent North Korea from developing both nuclear weapons and its corresponding delivery systems, and more recently forcing the North to improve its human rights record. At the same time North Korea wanted the removal of U.S. forces from South Korea, wanted to be recognized as a nuclear power and world “player,” and sought food and energy assistance via sanctions relief.
And while in the past there have been a few back channel communications via the DPRK Mission to the U.N., there have been no formal diplomatic contacts between the U.S. and North Korea since April 2012, with the collapse of the ‘Leap Day Agreement’ (LDA)…until Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met secretly with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang this past Easter Sunday.
But what was the ‘Leap Day Agreement’ and why did it collapse? The LDA was simply a “backdoor agreement” that saw North Korea agreeing to a moratorium on nuclear tests, long-range missile launches, and uranium enrichment activity at Yongbyon while also allowing IAEA inspectors to monitor the moratorium on said uranium enrichment. In return, the U.S. agreed to provide North Korea with 240,000 metric tons of food aid. However, said agreement went by the wayside when on April 13, 2012 North Korea launched its Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung.
And basically dead silence until then, but to understand the true complexities of a situation that did not end until Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un shook hands on a stage in Singapore, one must go back to where it all began… back to the end of World War II when Korea was divided into two “spheres of influence” along the 38th parallel with the U.S. controlling south of the line and Russia controlling the north, later on ceding their “influence” to China. Then on June 25, 1950 after the Soviets boycotted the U.N. Security Council over their decision to exclude China from membership, then-U.S. President Harry Truman secured a resolution to use force against North Korea after the North Korean Communist army…equipped with Soviet weapons…crossed the 38th parallel and invaded the south in an attempt to take the entire peninsula as their own.
And so the Korean War began.
By the time the war…the “police action” as we called it… ended on July 27, 1953 after then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower threatening to use nuclear weapons to end what was a stalemate…three million North Koreans, one million Chinese, 58,000 American soldiers, and close to one thousand British troops lay dead. However, while Communist expansion was halted to some degree and many prisoners were exchanged, no official peace treaty between the two Korea’s was signed, instead a supposedly in good faith “armistice”…an armistice which was supposed to lead to eventual talks to end the political discourse… created the Korean ‘Demilitarized Zone’ which officially separated North and South Korea, and does so to this day.
And while some claim the creating of such a zone was ground zero of the Cold War…it was not…what it did do was set policy for future American presidents in their dealings with North Korea…especially in regards to capitulation which remains a touch point with Kim Jong-un. And know that any discussions between our country and North Korea must allow Kim Jong-un to “save face” with total capitulation not an option. That’s why Kim is pushing so hard for an official peace treaty be put in place between the two Koreas, because he deems a peace treaty as a necessary formality to the achievement of security on the peninsula…security for his regime most especially…security without capitulation.
In fact, back in 1974 in a letter to Congress, then leader Kim Il-sung publicly invited the U.S. to join negotiations for a peace treaty to replace the armistice. Neither the Nixon nor the Ford administrations responded to this request, and when Kim Il-sung again raised the idea of working on a peace treaty with Jimmy Carter as usual nothing was done…in fact Carter wanted to withdraw American forces from South Korea thus leaving the South ripe for North Korea’s picking. Talk about capitulation…for the wrong side that is.
And while our beloved Ronald Reagan increased U.S. troop numbers in the South in an effort to keep North Korea in check, he for whatever reason was philosophically opposed to a peace treaty. And while his successor, George H.W. Bush, withdrew nuclear weapons deployed abroad and reduced U.S. troop numbers in South Korea somewhat, he too did not seriously consider negotiating a peace treaty…thankfully President Trump does.
And then there’s President Bill Clinton, who actually visited North Korea in 2009, and here is where all really goes down hill for here is where capitulation sadly becomes America’s middle name. Remember, Lyndon Johnson already capitulated to the North in 1968 with that shameful admission of spying so as to secure the release of the captured USS Pueblo crew. But now to make matters worse than just admitting things that were not true, comes Billy-Boy Clinton throwing money at a problem which allowed North Korea to become even more embolden as we see capitulation…on our part…becoming the rule of the day.
Let’s start with the fact that Bill Clinton did broker a deal with North Korea in October 1994 over its threat to go nuclear. Negotiating a deal known as the ‘Joint Framework Agreement’ in which the North promised it would freeze and eventually dismantle its graphite-moderated reactors and related facilities in exchange for alternative energy, economic, and diplomatic benefits…including two light-water reactors which were believed to be more difficult to use to make weapons than North Korea’s already in existence plutonium reactor. However, what this $4 billion deal actually was, was the ultimate capitulation known as bribery in the sense that sanctions against the North would be lifted as soon North Korea signed on the dotted line thus allowing money to flow back into a country who leaders could not be trusted to keep their word or honor any agreement signed.
And of course this agreement failed…and thankfully it did…with North Korea now seeing itself as being listed as a “rouge regime” under George W. Bush after admitting they had been secretly conducting a nuclear-weapons program for several years. Now withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty…a treaty whose intent they had no intention of following anyway…North Korea now revved up it’s nuclear program.
And that brings us to Barack HUSSEIN Obama and his dealings…or should I say capitulation…in regards to North Korea…with capitulation in this case being his usual weak stance of leading from behind. Remember, throughout his presidency Obama criticized North Korea for testing nuclear weapons and starving his own people all while he begged China to step in to help him tone down North Korea’s rhetoric and aggression. Begging… the leader of the world’s strongest nation could not handle North Korea’s continuing threats against the U.S. all by his lonesome it seems. If that’s not capitulation we don’t know what is…if that’s not failed diplomacy bordering on cowardliness we don’t know what is.
Now as for President Trump, we see in him a strong leader who not only leads from the front, but a leader who calls all the shots. Deeply affected by the death of Otto Warmbier…the young man held by the North Koreans for stealing a souvenir poster…the young man released by his captures solely so his death wouldn’t happen on their soil…Otto’s death set in motion the chain of events that led up to two once adversaries shaking hands with the above stated promise to leave the past behind helping to set the doomsday clock back a bit.
And the plight of Otto Warmbier was only the beginning of the 500 days, but it clearly set the tone for the event that would make history.
From President Trump’s first days in office and following his campaign promises to get tough on North Korea, the president embarked in a war of words and actions that turned the tide in the long stalemate between the two countries.
To fully understand the president’s first 500 days with regards to North Korea, one really needs to go back to the 2016 campaign where in a debate then candidate Donald Trump called North Korea’s regime leader, Chairman Kim Jong-un a maniac. “Nobody ever mentions North Korea, where you have this maniac sitting there, and he actually has nuclear weapons and somebody better start thinking about North Korea and perhaps a couple of other places. But certainly North Korea.”
Even before becoming a presidential candidate back in 2013, citizen Donald Trump had North Korea on his mind, tweeting in 2013, “North Korea is reliant on China. China could solve this problem easily if they wanted to but they have no respect for our leaders,” adding a month later in April 2013, “North Korea can’t survive, or even eat, without the help of China.”
And even before that Donald Trump had a clear and unobstructed view of North Korea when he told Tim Russert in an interview, “Do you want to do it in five years when they have warheads all over the place, every one of them pointing to New York City, to Washington and every one of us, is that when you want to do it, or do you want to do something now?” Trump said. “You’d better do it now. And if they think you’re serious…they’ll negotiate and it’ll never come to that.”
But one could look at April 2013 as the moment Donald Trump set the tone for his first 500 days in office when via a tweet he warned Obama, “Our President must be very careful with the 28 year old whack job in North Korea. At some point we may have to get very tough-blatant threats.” And just months before the 2016 election candidate Trump floated that he would be willing to hold talks with the North Korean regime leader, and when the inevitable blow back came his way Trump’s response was classic Trump…“What the hell is wrong with speaking? It’s called opening a dialogue.”
The rhetoric by now is well known, referring to Kim Jong-un as the “little rocket man,” making it known that as president, Trump had a bigger red button on his desk that worked better than the one on the North Korean leader’s desk. Telling the world a year ago, in June of 2017 that the “era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed,” and then on August 8, 2017 amid the “little rocket man’s” continuation of firing ballistic missiles over the heads of our allies in the region, President Trump issued a dire warning…“fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” The President then added…“Let’s see what [Kim] does with Guam. He does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before – what will happen in North Korea.”
The escalating rhetoric had the mainstream media spreading fears of a nuclear war with North Korea and questioning President Trump’s fitness for the office because of it, but what they didn’t realize or want to admit, was that there was a method to that rhetoric, and that Trump was right to use it.
As a businessman, Donald Trump often had to get tough with those unwilling to make a deal, and as the president he understood the only tone that a rogue dictator like Kim Jung-un would respect is strength. If President Trump really wanted to bring North Korea to the table he would first have to get the attention of North Korea’s leader… something no president over the past quarter of a century had been able to do…and President Trump knew exactly how to do it.
President Trump knew that the one and only way to deal with Kim Jong-un was face-to-face. Kim wasn’t going to respect the prospect of meetings between underlings…as in Secretaries of State or U.N. Ambassadors…it would have to be the two leaders themselves or it would simply be a repeat of the last 25 years.
Also, from his first day in office, President Trump knew what his predecessors either couldn’t bring themselves to embrace or in the case of Obama, steadfastly refused to acknowledge…acknowledge that the U.S. had the upper hand. President Trump knew that the U.S. could put trade pressure on China and promise to ease some of that pressure should China take steps to pressure Kim Jong-un…and militarily Trump knew that North Korea was no match for U.S. might.
Previous presidents, both the Bush’s and Bill Clinton, had worried far too much about the optics of meeting one on one with any North Korean leader, and feared the political fallout should they even suggest such a thing. So their answer to North Korea was a decade’s long series of bribes and payoffs that North Korea gladly took advantage of and had no respect for. Obama even sent then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over for a handshake knowing it was but a facade, and that North Korea was aiding and abetting his pals in Iran with their nuclear weapons program. Obama didn’t want to do anything against or with North Korea as long as North Korea was assisting Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
President Trump knew that as businessman Trump, if he and in this case the U.S. held the upper hand, that great risks often produce great rewards, and setting up a one-on-one, face-to-face meeting with Kim Jong-un was a great risk…but that if done right, it could result in great rewards.
President Trump knew that he and only he had to be in complete control of any such meeting or summit, and he made absolutely sure of it with one last volley of rhetoric when he called the now arranged summit off on May 24th of this year…and Kim Jong-un sent his top envoy, Kim Yong-chol, to the White House begging for the summit to be put back on the calendar.
Just eight days after pulling the plug on the June 12th summit, President Trump, then firmly in control of the entire situation, announced that he would travel to Singapore and meet with Kim Jong-un on June 12th.
In a mere 500 days, President Trump used every tool at his disposal combined with a firm knowledge that the U.S. held the upper hand, and accomplished what no other president since the dawn of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program had been able to do…he brought the North Korean leader to the table and opened an official dialogue…face-to-face…that was to say at the very least…historic.
This of course leaves the question…what can we expect going forward from this point?
To begin, we do not expect North Korea to change overnight is completely unrealistic and we don’t believe that President Trump believes they will, but we do expect some positive actions in a relatively short period of time.
There is a great deal of work to be done setting up the ground rules for what is expected or desired from North Korea. Remember, what was signed on June 12th by President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un was only a document…a declaration to begin the process of desired changes. It was not a “deal” per se as many mainstream media sources are trying to portray it.
We expect Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to be meeting soon with his North Korean counterpart to begin hammering out details which will include the close oversight of the dismantling of the North Korean nuclear weapons program. Such oversight will likely include officials from the IAEA, South Korea, and from the United States as well.
Before the dismantling can begin it will be necessary to send in investigators to verify exactly what North Korea has and where they have it, closely monitoring the situation to make sure elements of their nuclear weapons program aren’t being moved and hidden away from such inspectors…something the George W. Bush administration accused North Korea of doing. And North Korea’s response…they kicking out the international inspectors that had already been sent in under the Clinton administration.
We also expect President Trump to insist on key changes to North Korea’s human rights situation, as in accounting for all Japanese citizens held in North Korea along with their immediate release, and possibly the release of all political prisoners held by the rogue nation’s regime. That is something Kim Jong-un could do almost immediately as a sign of good faith, and it would signal to the world that the North Korean leader is serious about making wholesale changes in his country.
It is also likely that President Trump will seek assistance from China in moving North Korea to some form of what they currently call their economic system…as in a “socialist market economy”…with some elements of capitalism involved in exchange for loosening trade tariffs, a move we believe would benefit China as well as North Korea by beginning the process of making North Korea less of a drain on the Chinese government and economy.
And if Kim Jong-un is serious and truly wants change, complete denuclearization…as per the experts…could be accomplished in as little as two years ten years tops, but a quantum shift in his country’s ideology remains undetermined at this point in time.
One thing not many are talking about is the oversight needed to prevent North Korea’s nuclear scientists and engineers from drifting to rogue nations like Iran once North Korea’s nuclear weapons program comes to a halt. We’re talking about thousands of highly specialized personnel who have been trained to do nothing but produce nuclear weapons and along with their corresponding delivery systems. The last thing we want…the last thing President Trump wants…is to have those people lured into the clutches of the mullahs where they would expedite the nuclear weapons capabilities of Iran or any islamist group.
Along those same lines also falls North Korea’s nuclear weapons documents, potentially millions of them which, if they haven’t already shared them with Iran, and we most surely believe they have, would also fetch a staggering price on the terrorist open market. Those documents will be much harder to keep under wraps than will be the dismantling of the North Korean nuclear weapons and sites themselves.
Yet when all is said and done the bottom is that right now North Korea is a nuclear nation but it is the U.S….it is President Donald J. Trump…who is negotiating from a position of strength. President Trump should relish in the opportunity to do what his predecessors have failed to do in his offering North Korea what amounts to peace for denuclearization thus welcoming them out of isolation and into the 21st century. If President Trump can have accomplished in just 500 days what his predecessors couldn’t accomplish in the previous 25 years, he will go down in the annuls of history as one of the greatest American presidents of all time.
By: Diane Sori and Craig Andresen / Right Side Patriots on American Political Radio
Below is the 4-minute video ‘The Future Remains To Be Written’ that President Trump brought with him to the Singapore Summit that he showed to Kim Jung-un. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVVFARIR0Tc&t=5s
Copyright © 2018 Diane Sori and Craig Andresen / Right Side Patriots / Investigative Reports / All rights reserved.
Today, Friday, June 15th from 7 to 9pm EST on American Political Radio, RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS Craig Andresen and Diane Sori discuss their Special Report ’25 Years vs. 500 Days’; and important news of the day.
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