news 4 months ago

Trump Aides Aren't Buying North Korean Olive Branch

Newser — Neal Colgrass

President Trump's aides aren't exactly buying all the good vibes around Pyongyang's offer to freeze nuclear weapons testing, the Washington Post reports. Unnamed by the Post, these aides see Kim Jong Un's promise to stop tests and close a nuclear facility as important for what it's missing—a promise to move toward nuclear disarmament.

Kim's fairly modest pledges, they say, could make it harder for Washington to dismiss the North's demand that harsh economic sanctions enacted by Trump be removed.

Not to mention that Trump has already praised Pyongyang for its concessions, tweeting Friday that "this is very good news for North Korea and the World—big progress!"

Aides tell the New York Times that Trump is captivated by the chance to make history, but diplomatic challenges await.

He has to navigate regional tensions, with South Korea eagerly seeking to reduce war tensions with the North and Japan pressing for full North Korean denuclearization, the Japan Times reports.

Trump has said he wants that too, sparking fears that anything less could be perceived as failure—yet putting a mere cap on Kim's nuclear power could legitimize his current arsenal.

"The gap between reality and what we’re planning for is problematic," says analyst Toby Dalton, who wrote a pro-cap essay, "as it creates expectations that can’t be met in the summit process, and we’re back to where we were."

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