A useful way to test the deal Donald Trump has reached with Kim Jong-un is to imagine what Trump himself would have said had it been Barack Obama rather than him who shook hands with the North Korean dictator. Trump and his echo chamber on Fox News and elsewhere would have poured buckets of derision on Obama for the piece of paper he signed with Kim, for the fawning praise he lavished on a brutal tyrant, and for the paltry non-concessions he got in return. He would have branded the agreement a “horrible deal” and condemned Obama as a sucker for signing it.
Look first at what Kim got from the encounter. Once ostracised as a pariah, Kim was treated as a world statesman on a par with the president of the United States, the two meeting on equal terms, right down to the equal numbers of flags behind them as they shook hands. The tyrant now has a showreel of images – including his walkabout in Singapore, where he was mobbed by what the BBC called “fans” seeking selfies – which will feature in propaganda videos for months, if not years.
Source: Trump really has achieved a historic breakthrough – for the Kim dynasty | Jonathan Freedland | Opinion | The Guardian
President Trump is prepared to offer North Korea full diplomatic relations in return for full denuclearization, Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen reported at the website axios.com. The US president “is willing to consider establishing official relations with North Korea and even eventually putting an embassy in Pyongyang,” the news site quoted US government sources, in return for denuclearization.
The trade-off of North Korea’s nuclear weapons in return for international legitimacy for the Pyongyang regime is an approach that previous US Administrations considered and rejected. But it is the only diplomatic strategy that has a chance of working. Pyongyang might accept Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Dismantlement, or CVID, of its nuclear weapons stockpile in return for one thing and one thing only, and that is survivability of its regime.
Source: Can Trump persuade Kim Jong-un to give up nuclear weapons? | Asia Times
n a cold, clear night in September 2014, a man I’ll call Ahn walked up to the edge of the Tumen River on the Chinese side of the heavily guarded border between China and North Korea. At its narrowest points, the Tumen measures a little over 150 feet wide, and Ahn could easily see the North Korean side from where he stood. In two bags, he was carrying 100 USB drives filled with films, television shows, music, and e-books from around the world.
Almost anywhere else, such material would be considered completely innocuous. At this border, however, it constitutes highly illicit, dangerous contraband. In the totalitarian state of North Korea, citizens are allowed to see and hear only those media products created or sanctioned by the government. Pyongyang considers foreign information of any kind a threat and expends great effort keeping it out. The regime’s primary fear is that exposure to words, images, and sounds from the outside world could make North Koreans disillusioned with the state of affairs in their own country, which could lead them to desire—or even demand—change.
Ahn is a defector who escaped from North Korea in 2004 and now lives in the South Korean capital, Seoul, where he runs a nongovernmental organization that sends information into North Korea. He is one of the dozens of defectors from North Korea whom I have interviewed in the past ten years. Defectors’ testimony is not always reliable, nor is it enough to piece together an accurate portrait of life inside the opaque and secretive country. But when combined with other information, defectors’ stories offer invaluable insights.
At the edge of the river that night, Ahn knew precisely what to do; he had made this kind of trip to the border many times before. With his senses on high alert, he scanned the area for guards. Once he felt certain that he wasn’t being watched, h
Source: The Opening of the North Korean Mind
Donald Trump has said the US may may have no choice but to “totally destroy” North Korea. In his first address to the UN General Assembly – and with North Korean diplomats sitting just yards from him – Mr Trump said he will have no option to resort to such actions if Pyongyang does not halt the development of its nuclear weapons programme. In perhaps the most striking piece of sabre-rattling yet, Mr Trump said that unless North Korea backed down, “we will have no choice than to totally destroy North Korea”.
Source: Donald Trump vows to ‘totally destroy North Korea’ if it threatens US: ‘Rocket Man is on a suicide mission’ | The Independent
North Korea has fired a ballistic missile over northern Japan for the second time in less than a month, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday.
Source: North Korea launches missile over Japan – CNNPolitics
The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution to impose new sanctions on North Korea on Monday — a move that comes just one week after the rogue nation carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test.
Source: UN passes fresh sanctions on North Korea – CNNPolitics