Was South Korea’s Moon the Real Architect of the Historic Trump-Kim DMZ Meeting?

Trump extends White House invitation to Kim, US and North Korea to reopen stalled nuclear talks

It looks like North Koreans put pressure on the South and it worked

Editor’s note: Moon has been extremely generous in assigning credit to Trump for outreach to North Korea that was really his doing in the past. Also the meeting comes shortly after the North Koreans had in frustration with the stalemate told Seoul to stop mediating between them and Washington. It is entirely possible the DMZ meeting was an idea of the South Koreans who have a lot ridding on the sunshine policy and who were only too happy for Trump to take the credit if he actually signed up for it. As long as it allowed them to finally deliver something to the North Koreans.

For one hour and eight minutes on the afternoon of June 30, a historic scene unfolded like a summer shower as North Korea and the US engaged in dialogue and as the South and North Korean and US leaders met at Panmunjom.

The two leaders appeared much more relaxed and familiar than during their past North Korea-US summits in Singapore and Hanoi, and while it was an informal dialogue, it yielded substantial results. It certainly is significant that US President Donald Trump extended an invitation to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to visit the White House, but in terms of substantive outcomes, the key thing was the agreement to commence working-level talks to break through the deadlock in North Korea-US dialogue.

Trump also made reference to relieving economic sanctions through negotiations, while noting the absence of any long-range ballistic missile or nuclear testing by the North since dialogue was suspended.

Agreement to resume dialogue; Kim invited to visit White House

Meeting with reporters after the North Korea-US dialogue that day, Trump said he had told Kim, “At the right time, you’re going to come over [to the US].”

“I said, any time he wants to do it,” he added.

Trump also said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would be spearheading the creation of a working-level team in the next two to three weeks to engage in negotiations, signaling the beginning of working-level denuclearization talks and negotiations toward a third North Korea-US summit.

Explaining that the two sides had agreed to designate representatives to hold comprehensive negotiations toward an agreement, Trump said that while some “pretty complicated” issues remain, the US would continue watching the working-level discussions.

Trump went on to say that State Department Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun would be designated to lead the working-level negotiations, adding that Pompeo had a list of the team’s members. In terms of the new team’s significance, Trump said it would be holding better dialogue with new counterparts.

When asked by a reporter if the members of the previous North Korean negotiation team are still alive, Trump replied, “I can tell you the main person is. I would hope the rest are too.”

Hints at lifting economic sanctions; speed not the main objective

Speaking about economic sanctions against North Korea, Trump said, “At some point, [. . .] I’m looking forward to taking them off.”

“At some point during the negotiations, things can happen,” he added, suggesting the possibility of sanctions relief.

At the same time, Trump emphasized that he would not rush working-level negotiations going ahead. Stressing that the two leaders had had a good conversation, he said, “This was a very legendary, very historic day. It was quick notice, nobody saw this coming.”

Arguing that there was no need to rush, Trump said, “Speed is not the object,” explaining that rushing can lead to limited results.

“We want to see if we can do a really comprehensive, good deal,” he said.

Regarding the second North Korea-US summit in Hanoi and its failure to produce an agreement, Trump said that despite many criticisms, he viewed it as a “great success.”

“You sometimes need things like that to happen,” he continued, adding that he viewed Hanoi as successful because it had led to the June 30 meeting.

Short-range projectiles “not considered a missile test”

As if conscious of the favorable climate for dialogue, Trump shared remarks that appeared to reflect consideration for South and North Korea. When asked about North Korean short-range projectiles test-launched following the suspension of bilateral dialogue, he said, “These are missiles that practically every country tests.”

“I mean, these were very [small] – we don’t consider that a missile test,” he added.

“But we’re talking about ballistic missiles, long-range ballistic missiles, and [Kim Jong-un] hasn’t even come close to testing,” he continued.

“And most importantly, there were no nuclear tests,” he said, adding, “I think we’re on a very good path.”

Referring to Kim’s acceptance of his proposal to meet, Trump said, “I also want to thank Chairman Kim because [. . .] knowing the [US] press, like I do, had he had decided not to come, you would have hit me.”

“Two and a half, three years ago, it was really dangerous out there,” he said, adding that the relationship formed amid a dangerous situation for South and North Korea and the rest of the world was very meaningful to many people, describing the moment as “historic.”

In response, Kim said, “This sort of meeting could not have been arranged in the space of a day had it not been for the excellent relationship between President Trump and me.”

“I am certain that this will provide an amazing force for overcoming future hurdles and obstacles that we encounter as we achieve good things that others never expected,” he said.

Moon says leaders “over a major hill” in Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who described himself that day as having played a “supporting” role, said he viewed the third North Korea-US summit as “crossing over a major hill in terms of the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization and the permanent peace process.”

“It gave great hope to the entire world and 80 million South and North Koreans,” he added.

“Merely in terms of the agreement to begin working-level talks in the near future, I think good results will soon be upon us,” he said.

Moon also said, “Originally, the plan was only to visit Guard Post Ouellette, but thanks to President Trump’s bold proposal, a historic meeting has taken place.”

“I would like to express my respect for [Trump’s] bold and original approach,” he added.

In response, Trump said, “The initial talks will be between the United States and with North Korea. And President Moon will be right there.”

Source: Hankyoreh

  1. Undecider says

    Now Trump needs to go directly to Iran.

  2. JustPassingThrough says

    great photo.
    who’s the buffoon in the middle?

  3. CHUCKMAN says

    Moon is a bright and capable politician. He seemed to hold extraordinary promise when first elected.

    He and Kim alone could likely sort out all their differences, but that is not allowed by the United States which insists on standing at the very center of things.

    Moon understands and has used Trump’s vanity, encouraging him to be at the center, to make some progress, slow as it may be.

    The photo at the top is highly symbolic. Trump stands at the center, wearing one of his frequently-used unsmiling ogre faces, while the two Korean leaders are smiling and talking to each other in an animated fashion.

    Trump’s words, too, are bizarre, as they so often are.

    That stuff about no speed and being careful and doing a thorough job represents precisely the opposite of his approach to almost everything.

    He is rash, erratic, incomplete in his thinking, not well-informed, and generally has a predetermined goal he wants to impose. He is not a negotiator, whatever illusion of himself he may hold.

    He is quite simply the strangest man ever to hold the office of President.

    His expression in the photo is one you can find repeated a hundred times over in various international situations. I think of it as his Mount Rushmore face.

    My guess is that ultimately North Korea will not completely de-nuclearize. Their past experience with America – its horrifying massive bombardment for three solid years in the Korean War, killing twenty percent of the country’s entire population and providing practice for what would be repeated in Vietnam – provides sobering considerations not everyone appreciates.

    And America has offered no real incentives of which we are aware, such as reducing its own heavy military presence on the peninsula or reducing its terrible sanctions. Kim is a clever fellow despite his cartoon-character looks. I’m sure he understands the importance of keeping at least part of the arsenal his people have so sacrificed to create, and he understands the game of playing for time. The impetuosity of Trump is just not sustainable for terribly long, and, in the meantime, a little increase in understanding has occurred and Kim and Moon have established a genuine relationship.


    The American role in Korea is representative of its role in so many of the world’s affairs. By insisting on putting itself in the middle, it interferes with natural local relationships and inclinations. It adds new demands and attitudes which otherwise would not be present.

    It often greatly complicates things by throwing its own interests into the scales. It does not do so in the cause of peace or understanding, but for reasons of control. It often has limited appreciation of local circumstances, insisting instead that the locals embrace its 10,000-mile distant perspective.

    America’s new levels of hostility towards Russia and China also complicate things. Russia and China have long supported North Korea’s denuclearization. But today they both have new incentives for not enthusiastically pursuing America’s approach. Why help people who act like your bitter enemies? Why help sick, aggressive creatures like Bolton and Pompeo gain a diplomatic victory raising their stature?

    They may even have increased incentives for secretly assisting North Korea in certain ways. They always did in the past maintain their own approaches to North Korea. Perhaps now, they will return somewhat that way. Neither of them has ever had an interest in seeing a collapsed state on their borders.

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