Despite President Trump saying repeatedly his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was the first step, the media has pushed to have the end product.
“President Trump declared success after a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that resulted in an understanding that Pyongyang would work toward denuclearization and the U.S. would end joint military exercises with South Korea,” CBS News wrote. “Mr. Trump and Kim signed a document agreeing to a handful of key provisions.
“But the future remains unclear – the U.S. and North Korea did not reach any agreement on the details of how to achieve or verify that denuclearization, Mr. Trump said. ‘We’ll be verifying,’ the president remarked in a rare extended news conference after the summit. Mr. Trump also claimed Kim told him North Korea has destroyed a ‘major’ missile site, although he didn’t expand on that.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden said he “welcomes efforts to ‘de-escalate tensions and pursue diplomacy, but proof of success will only come when we see substantive and verifiable evidence that North Korea is eliminating its nuclear arsenal.”
Biden criticized the deal as being “very light on details” and said, “It is troubling, however, that the Trump administration has given the North Korean regime many sought-after wins up front without getting anything in return.”
What they would provide in return – beyond promising to denuclearize, which is all they can do on short notice – is not stated.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) said essentially the same thing.
Schumer said the agreement was “vague” and “short on details,” which should be expected.
“We must get action not just photo ops,” he added.
The Washington Post made the same case.
“The brief document signed by Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provided virtually no detail beyond a stated commitment to ‘denuclearize’ the Korean Peninsula, a promise that Pyongyang has made and ignored many times in the past,” the Post wrote.
The work to put meat on the bones of the agreement will begin quickly, according to the Post, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will lead them from the American side.
“But no specifics of a future path were outlined,” the Post wrote. “There was no mention of a declaration of North Korea’s nuclear assets, which normally precedes any arms control negotiation, or of timelines or deadlines.”
The leaders should have solved all the problems of 70 years of mistrust in one five-hour meeting, according to the Post piece.
“Neither North Korea’s brutal treatment of its own citizens, nor its substantial cyberwar capabilities, nor Japan’s request for a tough line on the abduction of its citizens was mentioned in their joint statement,” it wrote.
That’s because Trump’s people did not get enough done in the run-up to the meeting, according to the Post, which “left the president with little leverage to press Kim.
The U.S. wanted more specificity going in, as well as “some reference to a timeline,” former George W. Bush appointee Victor Cha told the Post.
“We got none of those things. If the bar for success in this summit is war or peace, it’s a pretty low bar. We got peace. So in that sense we’re certainly in a better place than we were six months ago, when there was a lot of talk about preventive military attacks and armed conflict.’”
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