World Iran deal comparisons cloud Trump's North Korea summit
Pompeo: N.Korea's Kim told me he was 'prepared to denuclearize'
Washington's top diplomat Mike Pompeo said Thursday that Kim Jong Un had personally informed him that North Korea is ready to give up its nuclear arsenal. The secretary of state is the most senior US official to have met the North Korean leader and a key figure in preparations for next week's historic summit.US President Donald Trump is due to meet Kim on June 12 in Singapore for a summit called to press Pyongyang to end its nuclear and long-range missile programs. "He has indicated to me personally that he's prepared to denuclearize. That he understands that the current model doesn't work," Pompeo said.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's triumphant assertions about the success of the unprecedented Singapore summit are being met with skepticism and outright derision from critics seizing on the contradiction between his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and his willingness to accept vague pledges from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump warns Kim Jong Un on North Korea summit: 'It's a one-time shot'
President Trump on Saturday expressed optimism about his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but warned that the opportunity for Kim won’t happen again, calling it a “one-time shot.” Trump made his remarks in Charlevoix, Canada, at the end of the G-7 summit in a press conference as he prepared to depart for Singapore where he will meet with Kim on Tuesday to discuss issues such as North Korea denuclearization and an end to the Korean War.Trump expressed hope that the summit would be good for world peace but also for the dictatorship.
White House officials have repeatedly stressed that this week's meeting in Singapore is the beginning, not the end, of a process that Trump's team argues could have only been jump-started with the face-to-face meeting. The Singapore summit set out broad goals to be met in the coming months while the Iran deal, signed by President Barack Obama in 2015 and approved by seven nations, was an imperfect end to 18 months of negotiations, they say. Criticism that Tuesday's commitment does not include specifics on denuclearization and verification is too early, they argue.
"While I am glad the president and Kim Jong Un were able to meet, it is difficult to determine what of concrete nature has occurred," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He said he wanted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will lead the follow-on negotiations, to explain details of what the administration has in mind.
Dennis Rodman arrives in Singapore ahead of U.S.-North Korea summit
The former NBA player and Kim Jong Un whisperer reportedly arrived a day before Kim's scheduled historic meeting with President Trump.Rodman emerged from the baggage claim area at Changi Airport around midnight local time Monday and told reporters he wasn't sure if he would meet Kim while the two are in Singapore. The North Korean leader is scheduled to leave at 4 p.m. local time Wednesday, some seven hours after his scheduled visit with the U.S. president.
The top Democrat on that panel, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who also opposed the Iran deal, took issue with Trump's zeal as well as his announcement of the suspension of U.S.-South Korea military exercises.
"In exchange for selfies in Singapore, we have undermined our maximum pressure policy and sanctions," Menendez said.
For Iran deal proponents, though, the Singapore summit was evidence of Trump's lack of preparedness and poor negotiating skills. Iran deal opponents, meanwhile, seemed willing to wait and see.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., a Trump advocate and fervent Iran deal foe, urged patience and sought to dispel suggestions that the president had unwisely plunged into a meeting with a dictator after having withdrawn from the accord with Tehran. He noted, as did other Trump allies, that North Korea already had nuclear weapons and the capability to deliver them whereas Iran did not.
N. Korea military 'all quiet' ahead of summit: Mattis
The North Korean military shows no signs of unusual activity or being in a heightened state of readiness ahead of a historic summit in Singapore, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday. "All's quiet," Mattis told Pentagon reporters when asked his assessment of North Korean military activity. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is due to meet with President Donald Trump on Tuesday in Singapore, capping a remarkable build-up to the summit that Trump at one point canceled.Mattis also repeated earlier comments that, as far as he knew, the large US troop presence in South Korea would not factor into discussions.
"There is a school of thought that ... the United States president should not sit down with two-bit dictators," Cotton told conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt. "I think there's some validity to that school of thought with the exception (of) once those dictators have nuclear weapons."
"You know, countries like Iran and Cuba and other two-bit rogue regimes don't have nuclear weapons, yet," he said. "They can't threaten the United States in that way. Once they have missiles that can deliver them to use, I would liken it to past presidents sitting down with Soviet dictators."
Victor Cha, a Georgetown University professor and former National Security Council director for Asia in President George W. Bush's administration, lamented that the summit results "left a lot to be desired." But he also maintained that the Trump-Kim meeting had reduced the chance of conflict even if it was only a "modest start."
"Despite its many flaws, the Singapore summit represents the start of a diplomatic process that takes us away from the brink of war," Cha wrote in The New York Times in the immediate aftermath of the summit. "Mr. Trump's unconventional approach leaves a lot to be desired in the foreign policy of the United States, but there was no other path to this less-than-satisfying but digestible outcome."
Kremlin says Trump-Kim summit proves Putin was right about N.Korea
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un showed Russian President Vladimir Putin had been right to advocate direct dialogue as the only way of reducing tensions with North Korea. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call that the summit had helped reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula.But he said it would have been wrong to have expected that all of the issues surrounding North Korea's missile and nuclear programme could have been solved in an hour.
Kelsey Davenport, the nonproliferation policy director at the Arms Control Association, which supported the Iran deal, called the summit result "mediocre."
"The vague language on denuclearization is not a breakthrough, it is a boilerplate reiteration of past statements," she said, adding: "It is far too early in the process for Trump to declare success."
In the case of the Iran deal, even the most generous assessors of the Singapore summit sought to remind the White House that intense diplomacy preceded the agreement with Tehran.
"Pompeo will now have to undertake the kind of arduous, multiyear negotiations with Pyongyang that former secretary of state John Kerry undertook with Tehran," Cha and Koreas expert Sue Mi Terry said in a paper for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "Trump has assailed Obama's deal with Iran as the 'worst ever,' but he now faces substantial challenges to achieve as much as Obama did."
Iran itself cautioned North Korea against taking Trump at his word.
"We are facing a man who revokes his signature while abroad," the semi-official Fars news agency quoted government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht as saying on Tuesday.
Trump: North Korea starts returning remains of US soldiers .
President Donald Trump says North Korea has started returning the remains of US soldiers missing during the Korean War. The president also said returning a military salute to a North Korean three-star general was being respectful. Says Trump: When Kim speaks "his people sit up for attention. I want my people to do the same.
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