Kim’s acceptance of complete de-nuclearisation was a concession many thought was impossible. Now, however, will come the long dark road of proving up on the promises. Trump has also indicated that North Korea is going to move on human rights issues.
Later, responding to a direct question from John Roberts of Fox News about human rights, Trump said that the issue had been discussed — though he admitted it had not been as prominent as denuclearization. “They will be doing things” to improve the country’s human rights situation, he said.
He also said later that he would not remove sanctions on North Korea without “significant improvement” on human rights. The president also said that the issue of kidnapped Japanese citizens had been discussed but had not been included in the document signed by both sides due to time constraints. [Breitbart]
This, to our minds, is as critical as the nuclear threat.
A rogue state which imprisons up to three generations of a family because one of that family has become known as a Christian represents gross immorality and cruel injustice. Moreover, the conditions in which these poor innocents labour and die in the prison camps is horrendous. One can only hope that Trump was as definitive and black and white on these issues as on North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
To be sure, Trump appears to have done remarkably well. But the real heavy lifting comes now. The major “card” is the desperate straits of North Korea under the dictator’s particular version of “blessing”. Trump’s big advantage, however, is that he does not have to do anything except walk away and let the sanctions destroy the country still further. If Kim Jong-un has been playing poker it will be exposed soon enough.
Trump also emphasized the importance of the repatriation of remains of soldiers missing in action in the Korean War, which would start “immediately.” And the president reiterated that North Korea had committed to denuclearization. “We will do it as fast as it can mechanically and physically be done,” adding that sanctions would only be removed once denuclearization had proceeded sufficiently “down the road.”
Asked why this time would be different than previous negotiations, when North Korea had reneged on agreements, Trump said that his administration was different — both in terms of its priorities and its abilities. He rattled off a prepared list of concessions he had secured from North Korea before and during the summit.
We will see how it goes. The Trump pattern is to effuse grandly over any world leader or politician who shows him a modicum of respect. But, then, he can against upon them on a dime if he is crossed.
There is a long way to go. Churchill’s observation at the end of the Battle of Alamein is particularly apt to the North Korean situation: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
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