Skip to main content

January 2020: Misrepresentations of North Korean denuclearization

At the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore in June 2018, the leaders signed what Fox News described as "a vague statement" with a vision of "a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when or how it would occur." On December 8, 2019, Trump tweeted that Kim had "signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore" and that Kim has "far too much to lose" to throw away this agreement. A North Korean official, Kim Yong Chol, responded with the correction that they feel that they "have nothing more to lose."

(Meanwhile, National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien referred to Kim Jong-un as "Chairman Un," rather than Chairman Kim.)

North Korea foreign ministry adviser Kim Kye Gwan said on 11 January 2020 that Donald Trump's birthday greeting to Kim Jong-Un was an insufficient basis on which to resume denuclearization talks.

The adviser referenced the second round of Trump-Kim talks, held in Vietnam in February 2019, at which Trump refused to lift sanctions on North Korea. The complete lifting of sanctions had been Kim's non-negotiable prerequisite for dismantling the Yongbyon nuclear complex. As "we know well that the US is neither ready nor able" to meet Kim's demands on this issue, the adviser explained, there will "never be such negotiations as that in Vietnam" again unless Trump changes his position. The year-and-a-half spent in dialogue was "lost time for us," the adviser said, because "we have been deceived by the US."

He warned that North Korea would no longer adhere to its own self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. He announced that the world would soon hear of a "new strategic weapon."

Reuters quoted Prof Mason Richey at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul as explaining that "the US and North Korea have fundamentally different strategic interests with almost no meaningful overlap."

In an interview with Fox News host Bret Baier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeated the White House line that Kim Jong-un "made a commitment that he would denuclearize. He has not walked back that commitment." This is not a complete, accurate picture.


Popular posts from this blog

Castration at the Battle of Adwa (1896)

On March 1, 1896, the Battle of Adwa "cast doubt upon an unshakable certainty of the age – that sooner or later Africans would fall under the rule of Europeans." In this battle, Ethiopians beat back the invading Italians and forced them to retreat permanently. It was not until 1922 that Benito Mussolini would again initiate designs against Ethiopia; despite Ethiopia's defeat in 1936, the nation ultimately retained its independence. "Adwa opened a breach that would lead, in the aftermath of world war fifty years later, to the rollback of European rule in Africa. It was," Raymond Jonas wrote, "an event that determined the color of Africa." (p. 1) It was also significant because it upheld the power of Ethiopia's Christian monarchy that controlled an ethnically diverse nation (p. 333), a nation in which, in the late 19th century, the Christian Emperor Yohannes had tried to force Muslims to convert to Christianity. (p. 36) The Victorian English spelli

Review of Cliff Sims' 'Team of Vipers' (2019)

After he resigned his position, Cliff Sims spent two months in Fall 2018 writing Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House . Many stories are told, some already well known to the public, some not. One buys this book, most likely, to gape at the colossal flameout spectacle that is Donald Trump, as with most things with Trump's name. Sims exposes the thoughtlessness, the chaos, the lack of empathy among his fellow insiders in the campaign and later in the White House, but he does not at all acknowledge the real consequences for ordinary Americans — there might as well be no world outside the Trump insider bubble, for all this narrative concerns itself with — and therefore falls far short of fully grappling with the ethical implications of his complicity. Previously, Sims was a journalist. "I had written tough stories, including some that helped take down a once-popular Republican governor in my home state," he says. "I had done my best to be

War is still about power, not truth

President George W. Bush told the nation in his 2003 State of the Union that Iraq tried to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger. Months after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, when no weapons stockpiles had been found, the head of the Iraq Survey Group testified that it "turns out we were all wrong." President Bush had to admit this in Summer 2003, and he used the line "we were all wrong" in his memoir, Decision Points, in 2010 after he’d left office and while the war was still ongoing. Americans, then and now, rationalized the national error by compounding it, insisting on an additional mistaken belief that Iraq somehow contributed to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. A majority of Americans believed it at the time, and even today in 2018 the narrative still has traction. In reality: None of the hijackers were Iraqi. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz “was not able to justify his belief that Iraq was behind 9/11” but had the idea of “using” outrage over th