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Trump North Korea policy dangerous after verbal deal with Kim Jong Un



Kim Jong Un
Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives for the official opening of the
Ryomyong residential area, Thursday, April 13, 2017, in
Pyongyang, North Korea.

AP Photo/Wong

  • President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong
    Un are still on polite terms, but the US and Pyongyang have
    recently floated the idea of resuming hostilities.
  • Trump reportedly made a verbal promise to Kim that he’d
    end the Korean war, but hasn’t come through.
  • North Korea said it could resume missile testing if the
    US doesn’t move on a peace process.
  • Trump and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the US
    could go back to military drills, this time  bigger than
    ever before. 
  • It seems that shaky, unwritten understandings between
    Kim and Trump are all that’s keeping the US and North Korea
    from their fiercest-ever confrontation. 

President Donald Trump forged a summer of diplomatic progress
with North Korea after walking back from the brink of nuclear war
in 2017 — but a recent return to threats shows just how dangerous
the situation still is.

Trump left the Singapore summit with praise for North Korean leader Kim
Jong Un
, heralding a new era of peace and prosperity for the
country, as well as the end of the nuclear threat from

But Pyongyang has kept its nukes, and appears in no hurry to
discard them. Now US patience has worn thin.

Trump promised Kim that the US would officially end the Korean
War, which has technically been running since June 1950, as part
of the peace and denuclearization process, Vox reported on

The US has maintained that a peace treaty can only come after
steps towards denuclearization, but North Korea pushes for the

Trump canceled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to North
Korea after Pyongyang sent a “belligerent”
letter to the US
warning that they may resume “nuclear and
missile activities” if progress towards a peace treaty isn’t

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis recently said that the US and
South Korea could resume military exercises, a major irritant in
the relationship with Pyongyang and a concession Trump personally
made to Kim in Singapore. 

Trump on Wednesday ratcheted up that prospect, saying that if the
US does restart military drills, they “will be far bigger
than ever before.”

Both sides prepped for massive escalation

aircraft carriers bomber north korea pacific
Navy aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Theodore
Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) along with their
strike groups transit the Western Pacific with ships from the
Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.

US Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd
Class Anthony Rivera

But Trump’s last full round of military drills in 2017 already
pushed the envelope for how big a drill could get without
spooking North Korea into a first strike.

In April 2017, the US had three aircraft carriers off North
Korea’s coast and stood at the brink of full-on war.

As North Korea’s missiles become longer range, and its nuclear
weapons larger in destructive power, the only tests left for
Pyongyang to run would likely involve massive, possibly
intolerable escalations. 

For example, before ending testing in 2018, North Korea had
standing threats to fire missiles at US forces in Guam and
detonate an armed nuclear warhead over the Pacific. 

After the Singapore summit, experts dismissed Trump and Kim’s
joint statement as empty words each side had often said before
without a result.

But months later, time and reporting have revealed that the most
important aspects of the deal took place under-the-table and
verbally, with Trump saying he’d declare an end to the war and
stop military drills. 

For now, Trump said he sees no need to continue military
drills with South Korea
or put military pressure back on Kim,
whom he calls a friend. 

North Korea has broken every agreement it’s ever made with the
US, and has often done so with high profile launches. 

Trump often touts North Korea diplomacy as a major win of his
presidency, but how he would respond if Kim betrayed the spirit
of their friendship with an embarrassing missile launch remains
an open question, with potentially dangerous answers. 

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