On April 27, 2018 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un crossed the line that has divided the Korean Peninsula for the last 65 years, for a historic summit with President Moon Jae-in. The two leaders signed the three-page “Panmunjom Declaration,” which mentioned the ushering in of a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity, alleviating military tension and establishing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. The declaration also confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a “nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.” However, this was the last item coming after other measures to ensure the normalization of relations between the two Koreas.
The three paragraphs below were among the conclusions I had drawn from the first Trump-Kim summit held in Singapore on June 12, 2018 (*):
The Singapore summit marks the relaunching, under more favorable circumstances and with a lot of theater, of decades of diplomatic negotiations with Pyongyang on denuclearization. However, the DPRK is now an established nuclear power. Thus, there is a long road ahead and a US president with little patience.
One may conclude therefore that in the negotiations soon to be launched, the Trump White House would insist on rapid denuclearization and Kim Jong Un on the need to normalize relations and at least a gradual lifting of sanctions.
It seems that under Mr. Trump conventional diplomacy will give way to one-to-one deal-making with no mention of agreements, treaties and multilateralism.
On November 2, 2018 Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin held an on-the-record briefing on Iran sanctions. The former said that these were part of the campaign aimed at depriving Tehran of the revenues that it uses to spread death and destruction around the world. The latter called Iran world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. And a few days later, in responding to a question regarding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Mr. Pompeo said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been an important partner for the U.S. in attempting to change the behavior of Iran. Okumaya devam et →
Yesterday President Trump announced that he is terminating United States’ participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and re-imposing sanctions lifted under the deal.
From the very beginning of his presidency Mr. Trump has denigrated his predecessor, past administrations and their achievements. His principal target has been the Iran nuclear deal. He has said that the deal is one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into; that it has failed to address Tehran’s growing missile capability and expanding influence in the Middle East. He has called it “insane”. Such public criticism of one’s predecessors particularly in high office is bad enough but the language he has used must have offended the other four other permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany as well. Because what it means is that they were either duped or devious. CNN’s headline “World holds breath for Trump’s Iran deal decision” and others which said “European allies are on edge” must have delighted him. However, by withdrawing from the JCPOA before seeing the outcome of his summit with Kim Jong-un, Mr. Trump has put himself on the spot. And how all of this relates to his internal troubles is worth thinking about. Okumaya devam et →
Following North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to China in late March, I said that though many would still say that he remains a ruthless dictator, some may start thinking that he plays his foreign policy cards rather well (*). Indeed, his whirlwind diplomatic campaign upends the title of “reclusive ruler” attributed to him in the West. Six days before meeting South Korean President Moon Jae-in, he declared in a display of confidence that he will suspend nuclear and missile tests and will shut down the testing-site where the previous six nuclear tests were conducted. The announcement received broad international welcome. South Korea’s Presidency said in a statement that this was a meaningful step forward. And days before meeting with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea came the pivot away from nuclear testing toward the economy. Following the announcement regarding the suspension of nuclear and missile tests President Trump tweeted “This is very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress!” But during his joint press conference with President Macron on April 24, when asked what complete denuclearization meant he responded “It means they get rid of their nukes. Very simple…” Okumaya devam et →