Kim Jong-un sends birthday wishes to Xi Jinping

Arturo Kim
June 17, 2018

Among the subjects President Donald Trump apparently didn't discuss with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore - the regime's human rights abuses, its exports of missile technology and its mistreatment of USA prisoners - there's one more: its long record of risky cyberattacks against sensitive targets in the US and allied nations. "I sometimes say the Denuking of North Korea, and those are handsome words", Trump said. Though there is a possibility of direct communication between Trump and Kim, it may not necessarily be made in the manner of a "direct phone call", the source added.

And after the summit, when Trump made the shock announcement that the USA would stop its massive war games with South Korea - a longtime Chinese goal - it was clear that Beijing had made its mark on the proceedings.

The summit meeting's critics in Japan, much like those in the United States, were disappointed that the joint statement signed by Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim lacked specific commitments by the North, such as a timeline or details about how it would actually go about giving up its weapons.

North Korea runs a particularly brutal regime with unparalleled restrictions on citizenry and its vast gulag system.

In reply, the USA president broached his plans to end the joint military exercises at a news conference after the summit, saying it was not appropriate to negotiate while staging "war games".

Yet, to Trump's credit, we are surely at a better place than we were a year ago when Kim was testing hydrogen bombs and ICBMs, and he and Trump were trading threats and insults in what seemed the prelude to a new Korean War.

The President's deal calls for "complete" denuclearization but makes no mention of how or when North Korea will accomplish that goal.

One of the costs of the Trump Era is that all opinions become suspect because, even more than usual, everything is seen through the prism of whether you are for or against the president.

Trump accepted North Korea deliberately vague language about “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula”, with no specific reference to its nuclear weapons
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During an interview yesterday following the American's summit with Kim Jong-un, he reiterated both leaders have a "good chemistry".

He said: "I was kidding". Say an American solider was 18 when he was sent to North Korea in the war's final year, 1953 - he would have been 80 in 2015; if his parents had given birth to him when they were 18, they would have been 98 in 2015.

At a rally in February, he said Democrats in Congress were treasonous because they did not clap at his State of the Union speech.

Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said last week that he was "happy" the president met with Kim, but he questioned the strength of the document Trump and Kim signed in Singapore.

Up to that point, the North "really did not prioritise the ending of exercises by the US and South Korea", said Bonnie Glaser, senior Asia advisor at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies. But the number of those who say it is "very" unlikely has dropped from 42 percent in April to 25 percent today. Was it a success or did Trump make too many concessions to Kim?

Trump's unilateral decision to reduce tension by canceling joint military exercises by US and South Korean forces meanwhile appeared to catch both close ally Seoul and some Pentagon officials by surprise.

Trump on Sunday also re-posted one of his tweets from last week that contained multiple, previously unreported photographs from the G7 summit showing Trump smiling and seeming comfortable with other world leaders. Trump even sloughed off questions at the news conference about North Korean forced labor camps where thousands are tortured and murdered, saying such things happen elsewhere.

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