North Korea Sends Another Warning To The Trump Administration
Meanwhile, on the Korean Peninsula.....
North Korea is warning the United States that it’s nearing the point where further dialogue with the Trump Administration may be pointless:
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said on Saturday that its expectations for more dialogue with the Trump administration were “gradually disappearing,” and threatened to reconsider its conciliatory gestures toward the United States, potentially including its moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.
The warning was contained in a statement issued by First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui, which accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of blocking efforts to restart dialogue.
Ms. Choe was the second senior North Korean official in a week to attack Mr. Pompeo, this time over a speech on Tuesday in which he said the administration had “recognized North Korea’s rogue behavior could not be ignored.”
That remark “made the opening of the expected D.P.R.K.-U.S. working-level negotiations more difficult,” Ms. Choe said, using the abbreviation of the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “Our expectations of dialogue with the U.S. are gradually disappearing, and we are being pushed to re-examine all the measures we have taken so far.”
Ms. Choe did not elaborate. But in recent weeks, North Korea has repeatedly warned that it might reverse the steps it took last year to facilitate the first summit meeting between its leader, Kim Jong-un, and President Trump, in Singapore.
Those steps included a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests, as well as the partial destruction of the North’s underground nuclear test site and its rocket-engine test facilities.
But neither the Singapore meeting, in June last year, nor a second conference, in Vietnam in February, produced any concrete plan on how to end the North’s nuclear weapons program.
All of this comes after what has been a relatively quiet summer on the North Korean front. While there hasn’t been any news that can be considered progress in any talks between the United States and the DPRK, there are also hasn’t been a significant breakdown. This is the case notwithstanding the fact that the season started out with warnings from Pyongyang that there would not be progress in talks between the two countries if the United States continued to insist on unrealistic goals for the talks. This appears to be a specific reference to American insistence that the ultimate goal of negotiations is the elimination of the DPRK’s existing nuclear arsenal, something that Pyongyang clearly isn’t going to do. In the meantime, North Korea has seemingly become more belligerent, launching a series of short-range missile tests that President Trump has largely dismissed despite the obvious threat they pose to South Korea and Japan.
Despite all of this the President continues to maintain the fiction of a “great” relationship with Kim Jong Un. The most recent example of that came a week ago when the President was in Europe for the G-7 Summit. At one point, the President claimed that his wife Melania “gotten to know” Kim Jong Un and shared his opinion of the North Korean leader. This came notwithstanding the fact that Mrs. Trump has never met Kim. She wasn’t with Trump for the Photo Op Summit in Singapore Summit, the failed Hanoi Summit, or Trump’s meeting with Kim at the Demilitarized Zone earlier this year. After numerous media organizations pointed this out, the White House was forced to issue a clarifying statement that made no sense whatsoever.
Where this leaves us is unclear, but it seems clear that the North Koreans aren’t willing to play along with the Trump Administration’s current game much longer.