President Donald Trump with German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at a press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Friday, April 27, 2018. (Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump claims the merit of an historic inter-Korean summit, but now faces the burden of helping to turn the bold but vague vision of Korean leaders into peace. after more than six decades of hostility.
Trump must deal with two persistent suspicions: first about his own suitability to carry out that kind of negotiation of war and peace and to succeed where his predecessors have failed; secondly, if the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un really is willing to give up the nuclear weapons that his nation took decades to acquire.
"It is still unclear if North Korea still believes it can have its cake and eat it too," he said. Victor Cha, who until January had been in the race to become Trump's ambassador to South Korea. Cha said that while the spirit of the inter-Korean summit got an "A" rating, the meeting could not clarify whether Kim is willing to give up his nuclear weapons or if he is interested in freezing their programs in exchange for sanctions and economic aid. and energy assistance.
At a press conference at the White House with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, Trump delighted in the glow of the feeling-good meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and said he has the responsibility of trying to achieve peace and denuclearization.
"And if I can not do it, it will be a very difficult time for many countries and many people." Certainly, it's something I hope I can do for the world, "he said.
While Moon and Kim pledged to seek a formal end to the Korean War by the end of the year and free their peninsula of nuclear weapons, they did not. They did specify how it would be achieved, and now the pressure to deliver results, at least from the allies, has moved to Trump.
"There will be a suggestion that the South Koreans have solved it very well and that he will not have the option to get away angry, "said Christopher Hill, who was the chief US negotiator with North Korea under the George W. Bush administration.
Trump left little doubt about the unprecedented US summit. "Norte, tentatively scheduled for May or early June, would go ahead, saying he was waiting for the meeting and that" it should be everything. "The United States had reduced the election of the summit venue to two places it did not name. President He rejected critics who say that Kim manipulated Kim, who abruptly switched to diplomacy after last year's massive push to become a nuclear power that could threaten the continental United States.
"I do not think I've had this enthusiasm for someone, for wanting to make a deal," Trump said in the Oval Office. "We're not going to play, okay, let's hope we make a deal, the United States has played like a violin in the past."
The new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who at the time was the CIA director meeting with Kim four weeks ago in North Korea, told reporters in Brussels that he had the impression that Kim was "serious" about negotiate on denuclearization due to the economic pressure campaign led by Trump.
But Pompeo added a word of warning: "I'm always careful, there's a lot of history here, promises have been made, hopes have been raised and then vanished."
North Korea has already called for a halt to nuclear and long-range missile tests, which has helped to significantly reduce tensions. But Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Washington-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the promise of denuclearization must now be backed by tangible actions, such as the end of North Korea's production of fissionable material that can be used for bombs and dismantling. of nuclear facilities.
Hill, the former US negotiator, said that the main obstacles for the Trump administration would be establishing a timetable for denuclearization and overcoming North Korea's reluctance to allow a verification process, a failure of past disarmament aid offers.
"I am guided by my experience, which is what all the right things said, but they gave us a statement that was not complete and not entirely accurate, and they did not give us any kind of verification protocol." he said.
Despite the optimism, Trump reiterated on Friday that the US-led pressure campaign could continue "until denuclearization occurs."
North Korea was hit with unprecedented economic constraints during a feverish 2017, when US leaders UU and North Korea exchanged threats while Kim pushed his nation to the brink of firing a nuclear-tipped missile on the US mainland.
The diplomatic climate has drastically changed year, when Kim ended his international isolation, arriving in South Korea, the United States and China.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the United States is "optimistic now that there are opportunities here that we have never enjoyed since 1950" and any progress will depend on diplomats. He was referring to the year the Korean War broke out.
The struggle, which also involved China, stopped three years later after hundreds of thousands of lives were lost, by declaring an armistice, not a peace treaty. That has left the peninsula in a technical state of war for more than six decades.
The Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington and Matthew Lee in Brussels contributed to this report.
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