US Public Was Misled on Trump-Kim Summit

Establishment media was either unwilling or unable to accurately cover the intricacies of the Trump-Kim summit as well as Pyongyang’s serious diplomatic efforts, says Gareth Porter.

By Gareth Porter

For weeks, the corporate media have been saying that the Trump-Kim summit could have only two possible results: Either Trump will walk away angrily or Kim Jong Un will trick him into a deal in which he extracts concessions from Trump but never commits to complete denuclearization.

The idea that North Korea could not possibly agree to give up its nuclear weapons or its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) has become an article of faith among the journalists covering the issue for big media. Two themes that have appeared again and again in their coverage are that the wily North Koreans are “playing” Trump and that previous administrations had also been taken by North Korea after signing agreements in good faith.

But the media have gotten it all wrong. They have assumed that North Korea cannot live without nuclear weapons—without making any effort to understand North Korea’s strategy in regard to nuclear weapons.They have invariably quoted “experts” who haven’t followed North Korean thinking closely but who express the requisite hostility toward the summit and negotiating an agreement with the Kim regime.

One of the few Americans who can speak with authority on North Korea’s calculus regarding nuclear weapons is Joel S. Wit, who was senior adviser to the U.S. negotiator with North Korea, Ambassador Robert L. Gallucci, from 1993 to 1995, and who from 1995 to 1999 was coordinator for the 1994 “Agreed Framework” with North Korea. More importantly, Wit also participated in a series of informal meetings with North Korean officials in 2013 about North Korea’s thinking on its nuclear weapons.

At a briefing on the Trump-Kim summit last week sponsored by the website 38 North, which he started and still manages, Wit made it clear that this dismissal of North Korea’s willingness to agree to denuclearization is misguided. “Everyone underestimates the momentum behind what North Korea is doing,” he said. “It’s not a charm offensive or a tactical trick.”

To Wit

Wit: Everyone underestimating North Korea.

Wit revealed in an article last month that the North Koreans had informed the American participants in those 2013 meetings that Kim was already anticipating negotiations with the United States in which North Korea would agree to give up nuclear weapons in return for steps by the United States that removed its threatening posture toward North Korea.

Wit said his North Korean interlocutors had pointed to a June 2013 statement by the National Defense Commission of North Korea—the nation’s highest policymaking body—which they stated emphatically had been ordered by Kim himself to indicate a readiness to negotiate with the United States on denuclearization. The statement declared, “The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the behest of our leader” and “must be carried out .?.?. without fail.” And it went on to urge “high-level talks between the DPRK [North Korea] and the U.S. authorities to .?.?. establish peace and security in the region.”

The statement came a few months after Kim had resumed nuclear testing in an intensive effort to establish a credible nuclear deterrent. In part that was because of the young Kim’s conviction that the United States believed it could “bully” his regime in the transition after Kim father, Kim Jong Il, died in December 2011, according to Wit’s North Korean interlocutors.

But those same North Korean officials also told Wit that the new buildup would be of limited duration—only until it became possible to improve relations with the United States. That explanation suggested that Kim was pursuing a military capability primarily to serve as an incentive for Washington to come to the negotiating table and as a set of bargaining chips to obtain what it really wanted—an end to the hostile policy toward the regime by the United States.

The ICBM Difference

Wit revealed that in the private meetings with Americans, North Korean officials presented a concrete plan for a three-phase agreement with the United States on denuclearization in which each side would undertake a set of related steps simultaneously.The American participants were told that the first stage of North Korea’s implementation would be a freeze on its nuclear weapons development, followed by disabling key facilities and finally dismantling the facilities as well the nuclear weapons. The U.S. steps would include diplomatic recognition, ending economic sanctions and removing the U.S. military threat to North Korea, in part by finally bringing the Korean War to a formal conclusion.

It was the same approach to a denuclearization agreement to which North Korea had agreed in 1994 and again in 2005 and 2007, but which had failed primarily because of the reluctance of the Clinton and Bush administrations to commit to entering into a normal political and economic relationship with North Korea.

The political context for U.S.-North Korean negotiations has changed dramatically since 2013. The most obvious change is that North Korea has an ICBM capable of reaching the United States for the first time. Although it provoked threats by the Trump administration in 2017 to attack North Korea if it completed work on the ICBM, it also has prompted the White House to consider going further than previous administrations in meeting North Korean diplomatic demands.

Furthermore, in 2013, the South Korean government was hostile to diplomacy with the North, and the Obama administration was unwilling to consider any major political or security concessions to North Korea until after it had given up its nuclear weapons. Now South Korean president Moon Jae-in has gone further than any previous government in pushing to end the 70-year military tension and formal state of war between North and South. Moon’s commitment to a Korean peace agreement appears to be the single biggest reason that Kim switched gears so dramatically in a New Year’s Day speech that presaged dramatic diplomatic moves in 2018.

Reflecting the new political-diplomatic situation, in April Kim put forward a new strategic line calling for the bulk of the state’s resources to go to economic development. That replaced the bjungjin line that Kim had introduced in March 2013 putting economic rebuilding and military needs on an equal footing.

Flexible Kim: Diplomacy over Military

Kim: Courted U.S. and ICBM made the difference.

Kim has made major adjustments in the North Korean negotiating posture that prevailed when the 2013 meetings were held with nonofficial Americans. The North Koreans had insisted then that the United States would have to remove their troops from South Korea as part of any agreement, according to Wit. But that demand has now been dropped, as Moon told Trump in mid-April.

Kim also has frozen his entire nuclear weapons and ICBM programs by suspending testing and blowing up facilities and tunnels at its nuclear test facility in front of foreign journalists in advance of negotiations with the United States.

What gives the freeze far-reaching significance is the fact that North Korea still has not shown that it has mastered the reentry technology or the guidance system necessary to have a convincing deterrent capability, as Defense Secretary James Mattis observed last December. And then CIA Director Mike Pompeo agreed in January that it would take a “handful of months” for North Korea to be able to master the remaining technological challenges—but that would require additional testing.

The willingness to freeze the program before it had reached its goal indicates the predominance of Kim’s diplomatic aim over North Korea’s military ambitions.

Contrary to the idea relentlessly repeated in media coverage that there is no objective basis for a denuclearization agreement, it has become clear to Pompeo that Kim is serious about reaching such an agreement. Pompeo noted in his press conference that he had spent “a great deal of time” discussing the prospective deal in two meetings with Kim himself and three meetings with Kim’s special envoy, Kim Yong-chol. And based on the many hours of discussion with them, Pompeo said he believes “they are contemplating a path forward where they can make a strategic shift, one that their country has not been prepared to make before.”

Trump and Kim will be able to agree only on a broad statement of principles that reflect Pompeo’s meetings with the North Koreans, leaving significant differences remaining to be resolved in negotiations over the coming weeks.

But this summit between what is surely the oddest couple in modern diplomatic history may well launch the most serious effort yet to end the U.S.-North Korean conflict.

This article originally appeared on Truthdig.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of the newly published Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.




56 comments for “US Public Was Misled on Trump-Kim Summit

  1. June 18, 2018 at 14:54

    Well, as a 78 year old person, one could understand why, because I was ten years old when Russia and USA split Korea into two pieces, before the Korean war began, the people my age have fear of NK for all those reasons. When the North invaded the South, it was with Russian tanks, equipment and supplies, etc.

    So there is a fear of NK going back many years and the MSM love to hate it for all the “Manufacturing Consent” reasons. Americans have in fact heard nothing but fear about NK. It seems that previous admins have not understood the “great leaders” and never had the imagination to work out a “trust but verify” approach. It seems the north now wants that type of plan which makes sense.

    This article is well done and does give plenty of evidence for the belief that Kim wants to end the war officially and have some kind of rapprochement with USA. One does wonder what Putin and his people think about NK and US rapprochement and what influence they have or want on that potential process. Rachael Maddow went wacko on that idea recently but the meaning is lost on me.

    It makes sense that since the NK nuke weapons cannot be considered “perfected” that now is the time to see if NK will go through a step by step, reciprocating series of steps that can be verified and regularly re-verified, that US enter such an agreement.

    We all want the 9 nuclear countries and their 6,300 nuclear weapons to disappear with time. Unless we have brave politicians who will try, how will we get there?

    “While a good politician accomplishes what is possible, a great one expands the realm of possibility – he doesn’t simply accept the lines of argument as they’re drawn and hew to the side with the most soldiers, he tries to redraw those lines to benefit his ideals.”
    Ta-Neishi Coates

  2. nikhil manek
    June 15, 2018 at 10:26

    i just hope and pray that things will be alright. if you look at american media, it is divided on party lines. pro-democrats or pro-republicans. reporter has to just report facts regardless of the government in power. just tell the facts of each case as they are in each and every case.

  3. Mark Walker
    June 13, 2018 at 18:08

    Those who have been paying attention since 2008 may recognize in the Trump trip, a carbon copy of the approach then candidate Obama described he would take if elected President.

    The Right and many on the Left brought out the political pitchforks against the very concept of deviating from the diplomatic efforts thus far.

    Now we have acclaim for an autocratic President who sees dictators as governing the “right” way?

    That’s not air you are breathing, it’s hypocrisy.

    • CitizenOne
      June 14, 2018 at 23:11

      The diplomatic efforts by the US thus far have resisted any deviation from any US Administration that brought pitchforks and sanctions and massive military might to the “negotiating” table as an ultimatum and a continued threat to a small nation which has the fourth largest army in the world. No other administration has had the balls to directly engage the North Koreans. Instead the Obama administration and the Trump, Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower and Truman presidencies have all towed the line of the military industrial complex to support the creation of a communist enemy in order to create a permanent armament s industry which requires enemy nations to justify the nuclear proliferation of the United States nuclear strategy which dates to the end of WWII.

      Trump has cut through 60 years of animosity in support of our great “defense” industry with apparent ease to forge an eager North Korean government seeking a way out of 60 years of a strategy by the US to keep brinkmanship and the threat posed by this nation as a burning platform requiring the full expenditure of billions of dollars per year paid for by the US government via tax dollars and deficit spending on the military in support of the threat posed by North Korea.

      Checkmate for the Intelligence agencies who have conspired to frame Trump as Russian puppet. Checkmate on the MIC which sought to create a new Cold War with the full support of our lackey democrats anxious to find blame for the last election on a foreign enemy (Russia). Trump will now emerge as a peace leader despite all the efforts of the establishment and win over many nations including China in the effort to end the phantom menace of “The Mouse that Roared” and bring North Korea into the capitalist fold that both the free nations, the UN nations and North Korea desired all along.

      Of course our national press will cry foul and tell endless tales of North Korean treachery calling them untrustworthy and also a constant enemy of the West. Endless pundits and news commentators will attack Trump and North Korea in support of our well entrenched military industrial complex. They will cry foul ball and seek to reinstate North Korea as the scapegoat that they have been for the better part of a century. All of this saber rattling will continue to seek to enlist Americans to support the continued sanctions and military expenditures against a nation we have been at war with for ever.

      Now the folks who are employed by our military press on CNN and NBC, CBS, ABC will endlessly go on second guessing the presidents motives and sanity as they predict the end of American leadership and the decline of American power. What they are paid to do is to be the cheerleaders for war. They support any war. War with Iraq, War with Syria, War with Russia, War with Iran, War with China, War with the Middle East, War with Martians and ET etc.

      War with North Korea has been on the top target list for 60 years yet Trump has made stunning progress by defying the conventional wisdom. In defiance of our permawar policy for all of the time since the end of WWII and the inception of our cold war strategy to create enemies in support of defense spending he has shown that the path to peace is actually quite an easy accomplishment. All he had to do was defy the conventional wisdom and directly meet with the North Koreans which no other president was willing to do.

      Hotels rather than bombs. Tourist destinations rather than nuclear annihilation. It is certainly a self interest and obsession of Trump but there is also no better example of capitalism and democracy in action.

      I do not know how it will all turn out. Mueller might end this “Korean Spring” with indictments and a conviction which will certainly return our nation to renew the cold war.

      The one thing that is clear is that our national media want to end the Trump presidency as well as our Washington establishment.

      Why not let the deal maker make a deal to entice North Korea into the global capitalism world and end the insanity of a 60 year cold war with North Korea.

      Only the military industrial complex opposes such an outcome. They want war and the only other industry which also wants war is the media. Cry cry, cry as they might that Trump is heralding the end to the trillion dollar defense budget we can see it for what it is.

      • June 16, 2018 at 16:35

        “Why not let the deal maker make a deal”? Please tell us what “deal” was made. Trump agreed to end “war games”, and Kim agreed to a denuclearized Korean peninsula. No dates, no details, no inspections, nothing but a repeat of the many other promises made, and forgotten. How is that a deal? It’s rather like the deal made when one side agrees to buy a house and the owner paints it before getting a contract. No amount, no deadline, no mortgage application, no credit check… and the agent expects a commission!

  4. John Puma
    June 13, 2018 at 15:15

    I wouldn’t call an agreement “serious” if it fails to require the US to remove its 50,000 (?) troops from S. Korea.

    Note, of course, that US nuclear armed submarines will continue to cruise the waters adjacent to the Korean peninsula well within missile range.

    This shows how pathetically little the recent president, and pre-emptive Nobel Peace Prize winner, would have had to do to retroactively justify that honor.

  5. Babyl-on
    June 13, 2018 at 06:26

    As the article points out NK has been interested in talks with the US for some time. Further, after Trump came to office and all the name calling and fire & furry, China and Russia put on the table a proposal for a “Freeze/Freeze start to get things going. The US, UN and the “free” world totally ignored China and Russia – and the compliant press did the same.

    Now after a year of agonizing there is this meeting which puts Trump in the spot light gives him a chance to really show off – and what was accomplished??? Freeze-Freeze

    It took all this global manipulation just to make it look like Trump is the hero so that something positive could actually be accomplished.

  6. LotusLon
    June 12, 2018 at 22:54

    Don’t Believe The Hype! Nuclear weapons snd intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are archaic threats given rapid technological development, electromagnetic manipulation, nano technology, and artificial intelligence; all of which enable greater impact and efficiency in the pursuit of power and control. Our greatest hope is that our leaders truly believe in the possibility of a just loving world; where human consciousness is recognized and respected for its inherent power and is directed toward peace and harmony in the multiverse.

    • chris goodwin
      June 13, 2018 at 10:50

      To LotusLon

      You speak of belief in “… a just loving world …” This is in no way necessary.. An honest, non-hating world is all that is required.

      Half a loaf is better than no bread.

  7. FB
    June 12, 2018 at 13:19

    Very solid article from Mr Porter…

    Of course the US media ‘got it wrong’…and ducks like water…go figure…

    Only minor glitch is that Mr. Porter, in addressing a significant technical ‘detail,’ seems to take the word of our disinformation apparatus…specifically regarding the idea that DPRK’s missile technology is not yet able to master atmospheric re-entry…

    For those who have actual professional experience in the aerospace field this is not plausible in the least…it is yet another example where our lying media can get away with pulling the wool over our eyes because it is a technical subject that increasingly illiterate Americans have no clue about…

    A quick layman level primer on the subject…any object re-entering the atmosphere at high speed will experience skin friction heating…an ICBM warhead would enter the atmosphere at 6 to 7 km per second…

    There are a number of methods to protect the re-entry vehicle from burning up due to this heating…but the challenge of doing this for a warhead is much much less than for a human-carrying spacecraft because the human spacecraft must slow down to below the speed of sound in order to deploy parachutes or to glide in like the Shuttle…

    That means slowing down from about Mach 20…to below sonic velocity or Mach 1…a 20-fold decrease in speed through the approximately 100 km thickness of the atmosphere…

    An ICBM warhead does not need to slow down, nor is this desirable…hence it spends far less time in the atmosphere soaking up heat as it builds up…the key thing to understand here is that heat transfer from the very hot air at the skin of the vehicle [which could be 10,000 degrees C] takes time…the less time you spend in that hot air the less heat will soak into the vehicle…

    A look at the early ICBMs from the US and USSR shows that the biggest problem was one of reliable launch and flight of the multiple boost stages, not re-entry…the US side especially was plagued with failed flight tests of the SM65 Atlas, the US’ first ICBM…with 11 failures out of 24 launches…

    The DPRK missile tests on the other hand have shown a quite remarkable level of success in recent test flights…all of which have been successful…this inconvenient fact is naturally overlooked by our idiot media, who take their narrative directly from what they are spoonfed by the authorities…

    In technical terms, the problem of re-entry for an ICBM warhead is not of significant magnitude at all…at least if you are content with mediocre accuracy on the order of perhaps five km…

    There are basically two approaches to handling the re-entry heat…early ICBMs used an ablative material that would literally burn away…the gases given off from the burning material would serve to lift the superheated air off the vehicle surface…

    These materials can be quite primitive, including even wood or cork…and still be quite effective…the Atlas ICBM used a nylon cloth impregnated with phenolic resin to protect the Mark 3 RV…basically a plastic…

    The same materials were improved for the Mk6 used on the Titan 2…the Mk6 RV was huge at over 8 ft diameter at the base and 10 ft long…yet its phenolic-nylon nosecone was just two inches thick…with the rest of the body being only a quarter inch thick…

    It was only much later generations of RV warheads that abandoned ablative [which is still used in manned re-entry vehicles including Soyuz, the only human space vehicle for the last seven years]…

    These newer warheads use advanced high-temperature materials like reinforced carbon-carbon [RCC] which allow them to have a sharp nosecone, as opposed to the rounded nosecone of ablative warheads, which means they are more streamlined and lose less speed as they descend through the air…this also improves their accuracy greatly…

    RCC is an advanced material but has been around for a while…so even this is not necessarily out of reach of the DPRK technical capability…but even if we assume that they do not have RCC…certainly they can deliver a warhead using the ablative materials for thermal protection quite easily in fact…

    Again, the main challenge is the rocket technology, which the DPRK has shown to have made huge leaps forward…

    This should not surprise anyone…the fundamentals of technology rest on a foundation of knowledge and academic rigor…the DPRK as a socialist economy has made a concerted effort over many decades to advance their technical and academic infrastructure…much as the Soviets and Chinese have done…and these latter have also helped DPRK develop this infrastructure…

    This is one of the inconvenient truths that the US imperialist mindset does not want to accept…so we are fed disinformation…the reality is that the DPRK is a very technically advanced society, with a rigorous and extensive academic, R&D and industrial infrastructure…

    Their astoundingly successful missile test flights over just the last year…blatantly thumbing their nose at the US and their completely useless ‘missile interceptors’ aboard more than 20 Aegis ‘missile defense’ ships in the Pacific have made this abundantly clear to those who actually know what is what…

    The DPRK has come into this [hopefully] peace process from a position of real strength…this is not something the delusionalists who dominate our chattering classes and national ‘conversation’ will ever admit to…

    But it seems that Trump is not among them, a good sign that perhaps he is finally breaking the deep state constraints that have shackled him from the get-go…his comments today indicating that this is the beginning of a ‘process’ is something that nobody else is saying…neither in the delusional commentariat, nor in the various neocon crazies that have wormed their way back in…

    This may be a very good sign…perhaps Trump is actually winning the regime-change war and he actually meant some of the sensible things he said during the campaign…

  8. June 12, 2018 at 08:25

    For all the skeptics which are many and make a strong case for being so, our strange president is talking to one of the many devils that are our chosen enemies. Talking is not a bad thing. It is an essential first step. Those opposed to peace fight tooth and nail to keep that from happening and our president is the kind of odd duck who might just do something positive out of sheer contrariness. If the comment is true as reported that he instructed Pence to keep the f….ing advisors quiet while he negotiates, that is also a good thing. Too bad he didn’t fire Haley the saboteur when the first words came out of her mouth about Russia having to return the Crimea.

  9. June 12, 2018 at 08:03

    I didn’t have time to read the whole article by Gareth Porter but enough, along with his past writings, to write that the guy has more sense and judgment than 99.9 % of the media and the whole Washington crowd, that small remaining fraction being those that have a hard time getting coverage.

    Consortium News selects many incisive analysts and is appreciated by ordinary folks like me.


  10. mike k
    June 12, 2018 at 06:41

    Any move towards peace and demilitarization is considered negative by the war hawk, bought and paid for American Press.

  11. KiwiAntz
    June 12, 2018 at 05:35

    Haven’t we seen this movie before with Bill Clinton signing agreements with Nth Korea then reneging & not honouring the deal? Or recently with the Iran deal in which Iran enters into the Nuclear deal with US & others, comply’s with all the conditions, then the US decides not to honor the agreement & decides to walk away? The biggest problem I can see is that the US can’t be trusted too abide by any agreements or for that matter, International law? And how bizarre that Trump seemed to get on better with Kim Jong un rather than his G7 allies, which he managed to insult, especially Trudeau who did nothing to deserve Trumps withering Twitter rant? And another bizarre thing from Trump wanting Russia back in the G7-8, further putting the boot in to this group who hate Russia based on faked news & fake chemical attacks! Putin would be better to stick with his Asian economic group than rejoin the feuding G7 nest of vipers??

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 12, 2018 at 08:19

      Hey KiwiAntz it’s the American process. First make big news with your gentle diplomacy, then sign the agreement using invisible ink, and finally wait a spell for people to forget the treaty signing before bombing them back into the Stone Age, is the ticket. This is how America won the West, and this is how America will reign supreme over planet earth… well that’s at least the plan. Plan B is buy real estate in your New Zealand for protection from radiation. Joe

      • Ol' Hippy
        June 12, 2018 at 13:21

        It’s truly stunning how short memories are. This piece gives the name of the man that’s been at the forefront of negotiations over the years. (Wit) The fact that the US government govt can’t be trusted time and time again going back centuries. Maybe, just maybe this will work. However the fact the the US Mr Trump administration tanked the Iran deal should give Kim pause before he gives away the farm, so to speak.

        • Joe Tedesky
          June 12, 2018 at 14:39

          As much as I’m trying to overcome the urge to be extremely cynical over Trump’s negotiating with Kim Ol’ Hippy, I struggle to see a positive future for any nation who signs a treaty with the U.S.. When it comes to the U.S. Government defaulting on the treaties there are no better people to reference than this lands Native Americans, and with my saying that I will rest my case. Joe

    • Rob
      June 12, 2018 at 12:23

      Circumstances and protagonists have changed since Clinton was President. Thus, there is no reason to expect that outcomes cannot change as well. And while it is true that Trump is wildly erratic and deeply corrupt, we can still hope that at least in the case of Korea, he will stumble into doing the right thing.

    • michael
      June 12, 2018 at 20:28

      Usually it’s one President not honoring a contract another has signed. Reagan promised Russia; Clinton abrogated the agreements, and North Korea. Nixon signed the ABM treaty with Russia, George W. Bush pulled out. Obama made deal with Iran, Trump followed Saudi Arabia and Israel directives and pulled out. America promised Gaddafi he would be left alone if he walked away from nukes; Hillary is chortling over his death by bayonet rape (the Libya plan).
      It’s as American as apple pie to walk away from contracts, like sports figures who want more and hookers from NDAs, who want more. There is no honor among thieves.

  12. john wilson
    June 12, 2018 at 04:33

    If this sudden accord by Trump and the North Korean leader is really genuine, then I suggest Trump better make sure his personal guards are fully behind him and on his side. The two Kennedy brothers were not on side and look what happened to the!! There is no way the deep state and the industrial war machine is going to allow peace to start to break out because they have too much at stake.

  13. john wilson
    June 12, 2018 at 04:29

    Curious how the US is able to go all smiles and handshaking to a country that has nukes and has actually said they would use them against America if need be, yet Iran which has no nukes and not really near having them is vilified, castigated and treated as some kind of international criminal.

  14. elmerfudzie
    June 12, 2018 at 01:07

    Since the establishment of the DMZ between the North and South, three generations of Kim’s actively pursued an atomic weapons program. The North has ever so gradually, been acquiring a general knowledge of nuclear technology for commercial electrical power generation, this in the hopes of eventually becoming a powerful nuclear weapons armed state. Western Occident corporations, such as construction giant, ABB Zurich and influential individuals who are Neo-cons, example Donald Rumsfeld, aided the Kim’s to realize their dream. During the Ford administration, the western Intel community did nothing to stop the final catalyst in this atomic intrigue, the bomb making expertise and (possibly) advanced rocketry, purchased from the A.Q. Khan network. Almost intentionally, the UN did nothing to challenge this weapons proliferation threat by Israel, Iran, Pakistan, ditto, Khan and North Korea. The whole network and undertaking was not pursued politically until 1991. Bush the elder began his Presidential Nuclear Initiative (in 1991) and withdrew tactical nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula. The following year, a Joint Declaration, binding both sides not to test, or in any way deploy or store nuclear weapons entered into force. The North ignored it’s public commitment and secretly continued it’s long held desire for a nuclear weapons program.

    In hindsight, I can only believe that the construction of the Yongbyon reactor was “good for business” for the western corporate war machine, in that, it terrified the North’s immediate neighbors and once on line, became a breeder reactor for plutonium. Un’s scientists may now be tinkering with the Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) concept at Yongbyon. In any case, there are so many underground tunnels, that can be used to conceal from inspection, the actual extent of their nuclear materials, arms and programs. Thus, the regimen required for verifiability would translate to a extreme intrusion over all sovereign rights, military secrets or not. Lest we forget an equivalent situation, the Iran experience, and their fierce opposition to our visits to various military installations….

    I have the eerie feeling that only something akin to Un’s (temporarily) abdicating all his sovereign rights, can untie this Gordian knot. It can’t be left to technocrats this time around, it must be a well policed and UN approved (civilized, if possible,) military take over of the North.

    The ICBM development is irrelevant since nuclear tipped torpedoes and short range projectiles on the battlefield could, respectively, burn Seoul down to the ground, kill most of our five standing armies stationed there and or cause a tidal wave large enough swallow an armada of ships, even at some nautical distance off, since direct contact with a hull would not be necessary.

    It’s far too late for a happy ending. How can we grapple with that ten year figure that has been bandied about? Who’s in charge if Un dies (natural causes or otherwise) who has got control of the button when he decides to “party” or is incapacitated during some future surgical procedure? How many enemies does Un have within his own ranks? can he really trust ANYONE? is he already paranoid? his, is a case of documented fratricide and heavy drinking, he’s in poor health, it’s all so unstable, to project this issue beyond a single Trump Presidency. It seems a bit too cautious if not, procrastination, once again advocated by world leaders; an on-ongoing proliferation issue, now for over forty five years!

    • F. G. Sanford
      June 12, 2018 at 02:30

      Obviously, Elmer – the Western Occident is having an Eastern Accident compounded by an Australo-southern nano-Nordic northern southern axis, which could result in a polar inversion of magnetic north and south. It could be a course changing direction correction.

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 12, 2018 at 08:12

        You should do the weather, or comedy, because you made me smile. Joe

      • Astaris
        June 12, 2018 at 08:20

        Obviously. It’s the first thing that jumps to mind.

    • Gen Dao
      June 12, 2018 at 03:15

      Kim Jong-un’s personal name is Jong-un, not Un. And the J is pronounced like an English J, as in James.

      • elmerfudzie
        June 12, 2018 at 09:29

        Gen Dao, Your point is well taken. I believe that “Un” has become a nick name for Kim Jong-Un.

    • June 12, 2018 at 08:08

      “it must be a well policed and UN approved (civilized, if possible,) military take over of the North”

      Say what?.

  15. Joe Tedesky
    June 12, 2018 at 00:46

    I’m going to write this comment with the healthy attitude that we should all get behind Trump, and wish him success with negotiating a denuclearization agreement with Kim Jung un. I’m not going to jump on board with that much negativity, because Trump doesn’t do anything in a traditional way, so boo who to the MSNBC/CNN naysayers. I’m ecstatic over an American President sitting down to discuss peace with a long existing enemy. Let’s wish everyone well.

    Now after my saying that allow me to say this, ‘WTF is Trump doing’? Am I a punk for wanting to throw in the towel trying to analyze this Orange President’s every move? One minute he’s upsetting apple carts with Allies next thing you know he’s glad handing adversaries. Ignoring Gaza, canceling U.S. participation in the JPCOA, arming up Ukraine, and instigating in Venezuela makes it hard to see the same kind of president waging a peace.

    N Korea would hold potential for the U.S. to help develop it. If in time the U.S. were to ever strike up a good enough relationship with the North it could be viewed as the U.S. getting closer to Russia and China’s borders.

    I don’t know, you tell me.

    • john wilson
      June 12, 2018 at 04:44

      Joe, I fear you’re are wearing rose coloured glasses today. You don’t seriously think the deep state, the industrial war machine and the likes of Bolton and others are going to allow peace to break out, do you? If this performance by Trump is genuine then he’d better watch his back. The two Kennedy brothers also thought they could run things their own way and look what happened to them ! Of course, it may be that the dark forces want to put North Korea on hold while they go for Iran, but one things for sure, there is too much at stake for the war mongers to allow peace to get in their way.

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 14, 2018 at 08:09

        John thanks for the comment. I actually worry about to where my head is at, and not so much do I wish to follow the warmongers. It’s every man, woman, and child, for themselves to try and maintain their sense of sanity, as our U.S. Government swirels around the drain. We’re going down my English friend, and I only hope we don’t take the rest of the world down with us. Joe

    • Al Pinto
      June 12, 2018 at 06:41

      I am with you Joe… The meeting between the two is a positive that pretty much diffused the earlier rhetoric of possible military actions in the very near future.

      On the other hand, the US probably has some alternative goal in mind since it has been losing its influence in Asia to China and to a certain extent to Russia. Trump’s news conference afterward seems to indicate that, quote:

      “On China’s role in the denuclearisation process, Trump downplays Beijing’s role. “We’re working with South Korea, Japan. We’re working with China … to a lesser extent, but we’re working with China,” he said.”

      Source: h**ps://

      As for “Ignoring Gaza”…

      The US does so, but the other countries started to change their position on Gaza. This is evident in the in the UN SC meeting earlier this month about Gaza and Palestinians, where the US could not even get any of SC member countries to vote for its proposal:


      The lack of support for the proposal, even from the US allies, is probably the first in the UN SC. Seeing the US ambassador to the UN begging for support, even getting down on her knees, is priceless…

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 12, 2018 at 07:58

        Al I could be wrong, but from everything I’m gathering it would appear that peace on the Korean Peninsula is happening with or without the U.S.. I’m not saying this to discredit Trump, but more so, because I think that’s what’s happening. It seems that the 2 Korea’s along with China and Russia are moving ahead with a goal for peace, and a infrastructure project big enough to include the North and the South.

        I also see Trump seeing the potential in a stark and baron landscape such as we find in N Korea, as a goldmine waiting to be excavated. Trump is a business man, and between his body language (for what that’s worth) and his remarks about the North getting rich if they sign the deal, Trump sees greatest for Kim Jung un’s backward nation. Also like I pointed out, to our military they see making friends with the North as a way of getting that much closer to the China and Russia borders.

        Thanks Al for your reply. Joe

      • Astaris
        June 12, 2018 at 08:28

        What was the other countries previous position on Gaza and what is it now? As long as Hamas rules the territory, prevents the Palestinian Authority from doing so and periodically lobs missiles into Israel, together with Islamic Jihad, and digs five-star multi-million terror tunnels under Israeli border community kindergartens, instead of using the money to feed the people of Gaza, what could a “new” position on Gaza possibly be?

    • strgr-tgther
      June 12, 2018 at 07:40

      /all get behind Trump?/ We should remember that all this just did not happen with the Orange Lizard. Are diplomats under Obama ( and Clinton) were working hard to make all this happen (just like the economy) and Trump is picking are fruits. I hope this all comes out in the news this week. It needs to!

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 12, 2018 at 08:07

        I’m not discrediting anyone. In fact it’s hard to analyze what would have happen with the North while Obama was in office with Kim Jung un firing off ABM ballistic missiles with the success of reaching the U.S. mainland. This milestone of N Korea’s was reached while Trump was in office, so Trump reacted.

        I also, like I said, am not going to be a Debbie downer over an American President sitting down to negotiate a peace. I mean how often does that happen? And in Korea’s case peace has been waiting in the wings for 70 years…. is it even patriotic for an American President to do that? So I’m not going to slap down the Orange Huckster when he’s on a good roll.

        Thanks strgr. Joe

      • JoeD
        June 12, 2018 at 09:09

        David Brock is that you?

        If you bothered to read the article instead of posting your prepared remarks, you will have read that author spoke about past administrations attempts are negotiations with North Korea.

        Troll some place else.

        • strgr-tgther
          June 12, 2018 at 10:49

          No it is not. I was just trying to point out where the credit is do and to whom. (not Trump) John McCain will have something to say about this and keep in mind he went to war there. The biggest problem in my mind is that how easy could have all been stopped if the Republican Never-Trumps only set up there party like the Democrats did. If you have Super Delegates like the Democrats do, then as soon as some one like Trump gets out of line, he does not get renominated. Done! You don’t need inpeachment or anything. And then we would not be going through this national crisis.

          • Joseph
            June 12, 2018 at 11:49

            McCain fought in Vietnam, not Korea.

          • Realist
            June 12, 2018 at 15:31

            The party structure you say you want is oligarchy, not democracy. We already have too much of it. It was the downfall of the “Democrats” in the last election. They ought to change their name to the “Oligarchs” to better reflect what they are.

          • michael
            June 12, 2018 at 20:37

            Obama’s and Hillary’s big contribution to the North Korea peace accord seems to be their execution of the “Libya Plan” cited by Bolton and Pence, Establishment neocon/ neolib warmongers.

    • chris goodwin
      June 13, 2018 at 11:07

      “… we should all get behind Trump …” (?) What do you mean ? Some (enough) “got behind Trump” back in November 2016, to make him POTUS. He now plays the hand. It is not necessary for any voters to “get behind” Trump, nor does it achieve anything to “oppose” the Donald – the general public are out of the loop until November 2020. We are out of “worry what to do next / who to vote for / who can I trust ??? ACTIVE” mode, and into “Relax and enjoy it /watch and wait / see what happens next / laugh at, well, whoever you find most hilarious / PASSIVE” mode.

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 14, 2018 at 08:12

        I see Trump’s reaching out to N Korea as a positive thing. I also saw Obama’s efforts to sign a nuclear agreement with Iran as positive. U.S. President’s seeking peace, is never a bad thing. Sorry that this time it’s Trump carrying the ball on a negotiated peace, but I’m not sorry if his efforts for peace prevail. Joe

    • TS
      June 17, 2018 at 11:52

      > Now after my saying that allow me to say this, ‘WTF is Trump doing’?

      Well, surely one personal motive might be to force the committee of the Norwegian parliament that chooses the Nobel Peace laureate (and currently has egg all over its face and is quite discredited for picking Obomber) to award him the Peace Prize — to much gloating by him and large parts of the Republikan Party.

      I, for one, would be happy to allow them to rub the Demokrat machine’s and Establishment press’s face in it, if he really did advance peace (and prosperity for Koreans) in that way.

  16. Chumpsky
    June 12, 2018 at 00:08

    I agree, as the author states, how the media is incorrectly framing this diplomatic overture on behalf of the DPRK and the US.

    I believe the US and the DPRK see the futility of a tit for tat nuclear escalation and hence, seek a way out that is a win-win solution. That can only be an economic one.

    From the negotiating position of Kim, trade with the West is a priority, and for Trump, it is not denuclearization per se, but opening up new markets for the international oligarchs to rape the way they did just after the USSR fell when state assets were sold for pennies on the dollar. First things first, is the conclusion of hostilities or some MOU that such is a priority of the US, Pyongyang and Seoul before agreeing to open markets and/or increase trade. One baby step at a time…

    This is Trump’s first attempt at building a legitimate bridge with a willing, if not naive, adversary. Cessation of hostilities is much easier than enacting an enduring peace when both sides see a significant economic opportunity. Unfortunately, both sides are jaded over the economic carrot, as the MSM and their deep state handlers continue to push the military/nuclear issue at the expense of the unification issue and a true non-nuclear future in the peninsula that ALL Koreans want. If the US fails to get its way, it will continue along its military blackmail path especially if the DPRK threatens to go the Belt and Road Initiative way rather than the Anglo-American neo-liberal route. If the US does get its way with the DPRK, we’ll see increasing tensions with China at the expense of thawing tensions with the DPRK. Such is the way of the MIC that gets its way regardless of outcome.

    We are certainly in for an interesting summit.

    • john wilson
      June 12, 2018 at 04:49

      Chumpsky,: another deluded poster. They are putting North Korea on hold for a while and all this hand shaking, smiles and affable discourse is a temporary blip and the real reason is to give the US the ability use all its military resources to attack Iran.

  17. tina
    June 11, 2018 at 22:05

    hi Kudlow just had a hear attack . Seriously, where is djts policy and program and more importantly, media without him?

    • tina
      June 11, 2018 at 22:06

      heart, not hear, sorry

  18. Realist
    June 11, 2018 at 21:51

    I think that Kim has already played a losing hand in taking any demands that the U.S. withdraw all its troops, its nuclear warheads and THAAD missiles out of South Korea off the table in return for what he offers to do. Why? Because Washington has shown time after time that its word and its SIGNED AGREEMENTS are absolutely worthless. Just ask Iran how Washington keeps its word. Ask Gorbachev. I’d sooner sign a treaty with Satan himself than with an American president.

    • christina garcia
      June 11, 2018 at 22:12

      yes you are correct, but what do we do to keep ourselves alive and human? Vote or what else?

    • KiwiAntz
      June 12, 2018 at 05:46

      Yeah & also ask the ghosts of Saddam Hussein & Gaddafi, if they could be asked? I like your analogy that your better off signing a deal with Satan rather than signing any agreements with the US, as their word is utterly worthless & just “words written on water”??

      • chris goodwin
        June 13, 2018 at 11:10

        Words written on swamp water (?)

    • Astaris
      June 12, 2018 at 08:33

      Satan would also prefer you signing an agreement with him rather than with a US President. Great minds think alike!

      • Realist
        June 12, 2018 at 15:33

        How do you know? Are you buddies with him?

  19. brian
    June 11, 2018 at 21:48

    I hope for the best, but I think it would be irresponsible for the DPRK give up its nuclear weapons. Just like the other members of the nuclear club, they will be holding off both nuclear and non-nuclear armed as long as they have a nuclear deterrent. The minute they don’t, it’s Gaddafi time.

    Any observer of the United States in foreign relations knows we never give up. Kim expects the US to leave him alone if we gives in to all demands — won’t happen. The United States from its founding has always looked to ancient Rome for ideas on establishing their republic.

    Both the Romans and US are warlike peoples. More importantly, when some group or country successfully attacked or an imperial desire was denied by a foreign entity, the Romans (and Americans) would attack. If that attack failed, they would bring even more resources and maybe change strategy and attack again and again until the objective is reached.

    That’s the fact, Jack!

  20. Jeff Harrison
    June 11, 2018 at 21:01

    I think that this holds great promise but is likely to come to naught with the current group of warmongers in DC. It wasn’t only Obama that was unwilling to do anything until after NK had agreed to our maximum agenda. Indeed, that’s the way that the US “negotiates” with pretty much everybody – agree to our demands first and then, after we’ve implemented our maximum demands, we’ll be willing to discuss which of your demands we will graciously deign to accept and which we’ll reject. Not that what you think about it is of any import, you’ve already given away all your negotiating levers. I’m not sure that this negotiation is going to go all that well. Kim is aware of the fate of all the other “agreements” his father had with the US – they were broken by the US, not NK. Kim will make sure that the US is in no position to simply violate their agreements as we have done time and again recently. Also, Kim’s nukes are a real deterrent. Mr. Porter fails to appreciate that “deterrence” is not just great power deterrence – deterring an entire state, it’s also chess style deterrence – you send a carrier strike force over to Korea to attack us and we can wipe it off the face of the earth with one weapon.

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