Moon of Alabama — July 8, 2018
U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo just visited North Korea to further the agenda President Trump and Chairmen Kim had agreed upon in Singapore. The visit did not go well:
The specifics of what happened behind closed doors remain unclear. Whether Pompeo somehow annoyed his counterpart or pressed too hard, or whether the North Koreans are simply reverting to their hot-and-cold tactics, is hard to say. But the regime made sure to have the final word, and it was not pleasant.
As he was leaving, Pompeo told reporters the conversations were “productive and in good faith.” Hours later North Korean state media issued a statement that did not mention him by name but called the demands he presented “gangster-like.”
The Trump administration has long set out its goal as CVID, the “Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Dismantlement” of North Korea nuclear weapons program. After applying “maximum pressure” on North Korea through international sanctions, the U.S. believed that long-planned steps North Korea took to start talks with its adversaries were already the total surrender it was hoping for. Somehow the people became convinced that North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons. From a Washington Post story:
Amid increasing scrutiny of North Korea’s commitment to giving up its weapons, Pompeo came to Pyongyang in a bid to hammer out the details of a denuclearization plan. While the secretary told reporters that progress was made “on almost all of the central issues” and involved “good-faith negotiations,” North Korea said the U.S. attitude, demanding denuclearization, was “regrettable.”
“North Korea’s commitment to giving up its weapons” is presented as a matter of fact in the U.S. media. However, North Korea never made such a commitment. The declarations it agreed to set out denuclearization as an aspiration goal that will be worked on only after the normalization of economic and military relations and after a peace treaty has been agreed on or signed. The record on that is clear.