North Korea’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ri Son Gwon released a press statement on state media today. It commemorated the two year anniversary of the Trump-Kim summit and presented the North Korean position, moving forward:
In retrospect, all the practices of the present U.S. administration so far are nothing but accumulating its political achievements.
Never again will we provide the U.S. chief executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns.
Nothing is more hypocritical than an empty promise.
Prior to declaring their special relationship with President Trump over, they issued a litany of concessions they had made which would, in theory, demonstrate that they were the aggrieved in the handshake deal made by Trump and Kim. They talk about shutting down a nuclear test site, repatriating POW/MIA remains, and releasing prisoners.
They do not mention that other test sites remained open, or that they continued to build up their military capabilities including via missile tests.
This was a predictable outcome of the Trump/Kim summit… and, in fact, it was repeatedly predicted on this site, as well as in many other places. The language in which those warnings were couched was often guarded, and with the recognition that the possibility existed for some miraculous breakthrough, but it wasn’t expected… and as time progressed even dim hopes waned.
It is particularly noteworthy to recognize that every one of the links in the above paragraph reaches back to prior to the failed second summit attempt. The betrayal was arranged before the original meeting and did not stem from future conflicts. The initial, much ballyhooed summit has been demonstrated to have been one of the gravest diplomatic errors in American history.
North Korea’s standing on the world stage has been elevated away from its pre-Trump position as a rogue nation. It has been freed to forge new economic ties with other countries, strengthening the Kim regime. The US damaged its relationship with South Korea and reduced its operational military capacity in that area of the world. Kim, personally, has been championed as a leader worthy of respect and affection by the President of the United States.
This was only the first stage of the failure which resulted from the summit. Future effects will be felt as North Korea exerts pressure on South Korea and Japan, and as it provides weaponry and expertise to rogue nations.
It is improper to say simply that no good has come from the decision to engage North Korea without preconditions and to hold summits between the two leaders. In fact, great harm has resulted: harm to US interests worldwide, harm to the safety to our allies, and devastating harm to any hopes the North Korean people may have had for a free existence in accordance with the promise of centuries of the American position toward international relations.