Trump says "it's possible" North Korea nuclear agreement could collapse

Leroy Wright
July 7, 2018

In meetings with Chinese officials and analysts before the Singapore summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, I encountered a recurring question: Would Trump accept incremental gestures of goodwill from North Korea, perhaps as stepping stones toward eventual denuclearization?

Dozens of South Korean basketball players arrived in North Korea's capital on Tuesday for a series of games the two Koreas hope will foster a spirit of detente generated by the recent North-South summit meetings.

At a press briefing, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said that "to continue the ongoing and important work of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, Secretary Pompeo will be leaving for North Korea on July 5th to meet with the North Korean leader and his team". There will be a strong impulse within parts of the United States government to embrace such steps as proof that President Trump's engagement is yielding gains, improving U.S. "If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!"

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to travel to North Korea on Thursday to take the next step in negotiations, in his first official visit to Pyongyang since the summit on June 12 in Singapore. "One, in the last eight months you haven't seen missile launches", she added, referring to North Korea's former habit of provocatively testing ballistic missiles.

But a joint statement signed by the two leaders did not detail how and when North Korea will achieve denuclearization.

Mr Chang said that Kim Jong-un may now believe he can "push President Trump around".

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The news comes amid a flurry of new questions over Kim's commitment to denuclearize as leaked reports from United States intelligence officials and analysis of open source satellite imagery appear to cast doubt on North Korea's willingness to abandon its nuclear weapons program. "I'm sure that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be discussing this with the North Koreans in the near future about really how to dismantle all of their WMD and ballistic missile programs in a year".

Mr Trump said the U.S. "would be at war with North Korea" if he had not stepped in and skilfully halted Kim Jong-un's nuclear ambitions - despite United States intelligence leaks suggesting North Korea is still expanding its nuclear arsenal. Over the weekend, a USA envoy met with the North Koreans at the DMZ.

Speaking on national television on Sunday, national security adviser John Bolton spoke about the idea of denuclearization for the North. We should give it a try and see where it goes. Pyongyang does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile and tries to deceive the U.S. about the number of its nuclear warheads and the existence of undisclosed facilities, the Washington Post reported, citing U.S. intelligence officials.

The top USA diplomat's visit comes amid growing doubts about Pyongyang's willingness to abandon its nuclear arsenal.

Last week, 38 North, a North Korea monitoring project affiliated with Washington's Stimson Center think tank, said satellite imagery showed the North had been upgrading its Yongbyon nuclear complex.

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