On Thursday, President Donald Trump let Kim Jong-un know what’s what.
As the much-hailed June 12th Singapore summit has drawn near, the historic meeting has looked to be on shaky ground. Most notably, Wednesday, North Korea senior diplomat Kim Kye Gwan stuck out his nuclearized chest:
“If the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested.”
Later that day, Trump conveyed a “We’ll wait and see what happens” attitude from the Oval Office.
Thursday, the President took a firmer position.
Trump vowed if North Korea abandons its nuclear program, the East Asian country will receive “protections that will be very strong.”
However, if Kim Jong-un refuses:
“[The Libyan] model would take place if we don’t make a deal. … The Libyan model isn’t the model we have at all. In Libya, we decimated that country. There was no deal to keep Gadhafi.”
For those who don’t recall, Moammar Gadhafi gave up his nuclear program in the 2000’s. In October of 2011, his own people rose up, beating and shooting him to death and then dragging his dead body through the streets.
Oh — and let’s not forget this:
By contrast, the President asserted he is “willing to do a lot” in order to protect Kim Jong-un as part of the agreement. “The best thing he could do is make a deal,” Trump explained.
Kim Jong-un doesn’t seem like the deal-making type. And Donald Trump — a self-professed dealmaking maestro — doesn’t appear prone to back down.
Furthermore, North Korea suddenly canceled its meeting with the South due to joint military exercises by the U.S. and South Korea. The annual drills — known as Max Thunder — had been long-scheduled and are necessary to keep ready U.S. and South Korean armed forces, according to a Pentagon spokesperson.
Trump guaranteed Thursday the June meeting will not include discussion of the number of troops the U.S. has in South Korea.
This is quite the showdown. Who has the upper hand? Who thinks they have the advantage?
Donald Trump is self-assured, to a point that could lean toward overconfidence. Kim Jong-un is the dictator of a nation, and not known for backing down.
However, some have theorized North Korea’s botched nuclear tests were rigged to fail: they served the purpose of posturing to Kim’s citizens while not inciting attacks from fearful international neighbors. As all-powerful as he is within the confines of his country, perhaps he is more of a realist than he appears.
As Donald Trump said Wednesday, “We’ll see. Time will tell.”
In the meantime, check out my article on North Korea for more of the Wednesday backstory.
And if you like the Star Wars video, take a look at my piece on Solo: a Star Wars Story.
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