July 17, 2018

What’s Missing From Kim Jong Un’s ‘Very Nice Note’ to Trump

Featuring Duyeon Kim

Source: The Atlantic

Journalist Uri Friedman

Donald Trump called it “a very nice note.” And it is super-nice! In the letter that the president published on Twitter on Thursday, Kim Jong Un refers to Trump as “Your Excellency” and writes glowingly of the “meaningful journey” he and the U.S. president have embarked on since last month’s summit in Singapore. He notes the “epochal progress” they’re pursuing in improving U.S.-North Korea relations, which he suggests could include a second meeting between the two leaders.

But there’s one word conspicuously missing from the message, which Kim’s deputy delivered to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang last weekend: “denuclearization.” The North Korean leader makes no mention of giving up his nuclear-weapons program, his more ambiguous vow in Singapore to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” or anything else related to his nuclear weapons. The closest he gets is mentioning “faithful implementation of the joint statement” he and Trump signed at the summit, but even there it’s in the context of praising Trump’s efforts to implement the agreement, not his own.

The omission is significant for two reasons. First, Kim wrote the letter at a time when several signs have emerged that North Korea may not be prepared to make serious concessions on its nuclear program. Pompeo left his meetings in Pyongyang—the first high-level talks since the Singapore summit—with nothing substantive but Kim’s letter and a furious statement from the North Korean Foreign Ministry, denouncing the secretary of state for pressing the Kim government to disclose the elements of its nuclear program and take verifiable steps to dismantle it.


Read the Full Article at The Atlantic

  • Duyeon Kim

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Asia-Pacific Security Program

    Duyeon Kim is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Her expertise includes the two Koreas, nuclear ...