- The Washington Times
Thursday, April 19, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In what would be a complete turn-around from the North Korea as we all knew it under Barack Obama’s administration, Pyongyang reportedly has agreed to “complete denuclearization,” without any strings attached to the United States, according to South Korea’s president.

This is a huge diplomatic notch in the belt of the present White House.


It wasn’t that far back that North Korea broke U.N. restriction after U.N. restriction and test-fired whatever missiles it wanted, all in its blatant, thumb-nose scoff of international law — and Obama-pressed “please, pretty please” calls to quit.

Welcome to President Donald Trump’s right-back-at-ya style of foreign policy-making, the kind that has seen him trade barb for barb with Kim Jong Un, over the hand-wringing, teeth-chattering cowerings of the left. All the boldness is paying off, apparently.

Not only did Kim invite Trump to meet and discuss the North’s nuclear program back in March — an invitation Trump then accepted, making him the first sitting president to ever meet with a North Korean leader. But then, Mike Pompeo, as CIA director, met with Kim last week for a bit of a chat, after which Trump announced the “good relationship” that had been formed between the two.

There’s still the summit set for May or June between the world powers, which Trump has already vowed to back out of if Kim tries any of his double-talking sneaky stuff.

But against all that backdrop comes this piece of eye-opening news, from NBC: “North Korea has expressed its commitment to ‘complete denuclearization’ of the Korean peninsula and is not seeking conditions, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday, as the United States vowed to maintain ‘maximum pressure’ on Pyongyang.”

Moon went on to assure that the upcoming summit would likely bring normalized relations between the two Koreas and the United States, something that hasn’t been seen — umm, ever.

“I don’t think denuclearization has different meanings for South and North Korea,” he went on, NBC News reported. “The North is expressing a will for a complete denuclearization. They have not attached any conditions that the U.S. cannot accept, such as the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea. All they are talking about is the end of hostile policies against North Korea, followed by a guarantee of security.”

The North is not to be trusted, of course. Rhetoric is rhetoric; promises, from a dictator, are never to be trusted. And this information is third-party, after all — from South Korea about North Korea.

But fact is: Under Obama — the president that the left loves to push the right to emulate, the commander-in-chief the Democrats wish Trump would be more like— the best North Korea had to offer in terms of communication was to do as its despot willed. To Test fire after test fire after test fire.

That Trump is not only bringing Kim to the talking table is in itself a good foreign policy thing. But getting the tyrant to talk up total concessions on the nuclear front? That’s significant. And it’s only because of Trump’s strong leadership and refusal to hide in a corner that the talks are heading in that direction in the first place.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.


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