The much-anticipated summit between Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in now in danger of not happening, thanks to recent threats and posturing by the secretive regime, CNN is reporting.
For weeks, the Trump administration has been touting the planned June 12 summit in Singapore as a major accomplishment of his early presidency; even calls for a Nobel Peace Prize have been heard. Trump, for his part, has even praised Kim for his willingness to talk after decades of icy relations between the U.S. and the North.
Now, however, the Kim regime is showing its “true colors,” as the New York Times describes it, by threatening to scrap the whole thing.
Early Signs Of Progress
The planned June 12 summit in Singapore marked an end to decades of failure of U.S. administrations to get North Korea to the table for talks. And indeed, for a while, it looked as if real progress was being made. In addition to scheduling a meeting, the North had also released three American detainees, detainees whom Trump claimed had been treated reasonably well. Further, just last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited North Korea, which was almost unprecedented for a sitting U.S. official.
“Provocation And Demands”
However, now it appears that Kim has returned to his previous habit of, as CNN writer Stephen Collinson calls it, “provocation and demands.”
First, the North demanded that the U.S. stop joint military exercises on the peninsula with South Korea. Then, the North issued a statement that if the U.S. demands that the regime dismantle its nuclear arsenal before the summit, then there will be no summit.
North Korea threatens to cancel summit with US if talks are ‘one-sided demand’ https://t.co/pXXOfEF6Nf
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 16, 2018
Then in another development, as reported by Fox News, the North threatened to cancel the summit if the talks are “one-sided.”
“We will appropriately respond to the Trump administration if it approaches the North Korea-U.S. summit meeting with a truthful intent to improve relations.”
And in the latest development, the North has cancelled a planned summit with South Korea, as reported by NBC News.
Platitudes vs. Action
If anything good can be said of Kim’s recent bluster, says Collinson, it’s this: Kim’s provocations and demands have been limited to canceling meetings and issuing strong words. They’ve not been followed up by threats of launching missiles, or actual missile launches.
So is hope for successful talks with North Korea now dead in the water? That will largely depend on how the Trump administrations navigates the mine field that is North Korean nuclear diplomacy in the coming days and weeks. But calls for a Nobel Peace Prize at this point are, at the very least, premature.