Saturday, May 26, 2018

Could The Two Koreas Go Solo?

The message from Messrs. Moon and Kim .. was: “Why do we need the U.S. doing anything if Trump is going to oscillate between ‘fire and fury’ and sharing a hamburger with Kim? Maybe we should move things forward by ourselves.”

I don't see why not. The Paris Climate Accord is still in place with many US states vying to meet its standards. The Trans Pacific Partnership went on. The Iran nuclear deal is still holding. I think Trump reads his electoral mandate to mean that the US finds it too expensive to continue leading like it has for decades. It would like to step down a little. Others should fill that void together.

The two Korean leaders can make peace and unification happen. They can make the Trump-Kim summit happen.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Trump And Kim Ought To Meet

Trump's attitude can not be that unless North Korea utterly capitulates, he sees no point in meeting. The hot air both have been blowing is not empty bluster. There are more dangerous things than nuclear war. They are called nuclear bluster, nuclear stupidity, and nuclear miscalculation.

This is not about regime change in North Korea. This is about walking away from the nuclear brink.

It is wise to involve third parties like China and Russia, not to say South Korea and Japan. Both the North and the South need that participation. Unless China is on the table American troops can not meaningfully leave the peninsula. And Trump desperately wants to leave. It is costing America too much to stay there.

You tone down the nuclear rhetoric. You formally end the war. You pull out the troops, and open up the border. And then good things start happening.

China is not the Soviet Union. It has a thriving private sector. There is no China collapse in the offing. But a Korean unification will be good for the free, open world.

The American political system is pretty good, but it is not the final word on political systems.

Trump and Kim meeting will be reassuring for the world, even if there is no progress made. But likely some progress will be made, and they will then have a second summit. A botched effort will ring alarm bells in too many of the world's capitals.

Trump says North Korea summit talks continue: 'Could even be the 12th': "We'll see what happens. It could even be the 12th. We're talking to them now," he said. "They very much want to do it. We'd like to do it." ...... Asked whether the North Koreans were playing games, Trump acknowledged they were -- and suggested he was too....... Kim Kye Gwan, a top official at North Korea's Foreign Ministry, said Trump's decision to cancel the talks, which were scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, ran counter to the global community's wishes for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

President Trump Says North Korea Summit Still Possible
How Trump Got Outplayed on North Korea: Over the past year, the president has repeatedly underestimated the importance of making real trade-offs in diplomacy. These choices appear to be anathema to his “go big or go home” style of deal-making. The Trump administration has been eager to jettison the “weak,” “terrible” deals negotiated by previous presidents — including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate agreement, and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran. With North Korea, he was seeking something bigger and better, “a very special moment for World Peace.” ........ While it’s true that deals like the Iran nuclear agreement had inherent shortcomings, they also effectively advanced America’s national security. In fact, their limitations reflect a hard-nosed assessment of the risk of the alternatives, the broader geostrategic interests in play and the constraints on America’s leverage. In diplomacy, every deal is an imperfect deal. The question is, how imperfect? And at what cost? Unless you can produce a better alternative, tossing out a less-than-perfect agreement that does advance some concrete goals is an exercise in peril. “Repeal” is almost always simpler than “replace.” ...... a deal that constrains, even if it does not immediately eliminate, North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs without offering unacceptable concessions in return. Whether such a deal is possible depends on Mr. Trump’s ability to embrace the art of the imperfect deal...... The United States has less leverage than it thinks in this negotiation. ...... If the past six weeks of diplomatic speed-dating over North Korea have made one thing clear, it’s that all the other people at this dance have a clear strategy and are playing their limited hands to full effect. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has attitude, swagger, and now a breakup letter for the ages. What it doesn’t yet have is a viable strategy.

Trump's nuclear failures from Iran to North Korea: In just over a year, Donald Trump has managed to nudge the world closer to conflict on both ends of the Asian continent. ....... The Trump administration simply lacks the basic strategic understanding and diplomatic finesse to cope with perplexing foreign policy challenges. When confronted with difficult geopolitical realities, Trump seems to prefer turning things into reality show episodes....... Trump's announcement was met by a melange of puzzlement, outrage and profound anxiety across the world. South Korea responded in total confusion, struggling to find a way out of the latest plot twist in the Trump-Kim saga. ....... Back in April, the South Korean leader held a crucial summit with Kim Jung-un at the Panmunjom demilitarised zone. There, for the first time in history, both sides seriously discussed the prospect of full denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula. ....... Moon staked his presidency on unlocking the Korean conflict. In an event of actual war, Seoul, which lies within the range of North Korean artilleries, would likely be the first and biggest victim. ...... In recent days, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the de facto leader of the "free world", went so far as stating that Europe can no longer rely on the US as a source of protection. ...... One by one, the US' most important allies have openly questioned the Trump administration's capacity for global leadership. For them, Washington is an increasingly unreliable superpower, which is beginning to threaten the existing international order with "Trump-style" leadership....... Interestingly, North Korea responded with uncharacteristic restraint, expressing its continued "willingness to sit at any time, in any way to resolve issues". All of a sudden, Pyongyang looked like the adult in the room....... the Trump administration insisted on unilateral, comprehensive, and immediate nuclear disarmament........ For anyone familiar with North Korea's strategic calculus, however, this was an outrageous non-starter. After all, what Pyongyang prefers is a step-by-step approach, whereby both sides de-escalate their confrontation on a gradual and reciprocal basis over time. ...... More fundamentally, countries around the world, both friends and foes, are wondering whether the US is a country that can be negotiated with at all.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Delhi Meerut 14 Lane Expressway


When North Korea had already held talks with the Chinese president and had talked of peninsular denuclearization and a possible Korean unification with a major gesture of time zone synchronization, those were positive signs. Pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal was not good timing, to say the least. The US sounded like it wanted a deal with North Korea that it had with Iran. If that is your tune to sing, you don't walk out of the Iran nuclear deal. That was a clear signal to North Korea even if they agreed to a deal that the US wanted, the US had no intention of honoring it. Trump also managed to talk about Libya and Gaddafi in the meantime. That was like saying to Kim, sign the deal that we will not honor, and, by the way, we want you killed out in the streets.

The first order of business was a path to denuclearization. Then massive engagement leading to a Korean unification. The North Korean regime as is would not have stayed in its current shape. West Germany did not become East Germany. And there has not been a one state two systems in Germany.

In the mean time the US has managed to lose all of its allies in Europe on the Iran nuclear deal. And that was not the first strike. The Paris Climate Accord, and trade were already major issues. Japan kept the Trans Pacific Partnership, that Trump would now like to join, he says. To that the TPP nations have said, welcome, but there is nothing to negotiate anymore. Join as is.

And India thought America, Europe, India, Japan and Australia are a thing. That was before Trump declared his intentions for a trade war with China, a recipe for a global Great Depression. India's Modi has had to spend two full days in informal talks with the Chinese president in response, and another full day with the Russian president.

Just like the climate accord and the Iran deal can go on with or without the US, the two Koreas should take steps towards unification.

Trump’s Relationship With North Korea Just Got More Dangerous: Some Republicans have praised Trump for his North Korea diplomacy, and there’s been talk about him winning a Nobel Peace Prize. That was always ludicrous, and his North Korea policy is in fact a fine example of ineptitude. .......... Trump’s jingoistic rhetoric didn’t particularly intimidate North Korea, but it terrified South Korea, which feared it would be collateral damage in a new Korean War. So President Moon shrewdly used the Olympics to undertake a careful peace mission to bring the U.S. and North Korea together, flattering each side to make this happen (Moon is a world-class Trump flatterer, and other leaders around the world have noted his success). This was commendable on Moon’s part; he’s the one who genuinely did have a shot at the peace prize. ........ Yet John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, spoke up in ways calculated to unnerve the North Koreans, by talking about the Libya model. When you cite as a model a country whose leader then ended up being executed by his own people, that’s not usually persuasive to another dictator. ....... North Korean leaders themselves responded to Bolton’s comments with harsh, over-the-top rhetoric, including the comment about Pence. This was a major miscalculation on their part, escalating the ineptitude and helping to kill the summit. ......... While the North Koreans didn’t get the summit they wanted with Trump, they have managed the process quite well. They used the rush of diplomacy to rebuild ties with Beijing and start discussions about economic integration with South Korea, and to moderate their international image. They’ve also created something of a wedge between Washington and Seoul, as was apparent in the response to Trump’s cancellation by a South Korean government spokesman: “We are attempting to make sense of what, precisely, President Trump means.”

Trump’s foolish conviction on North Korea: In the end what we had was the Art of the Schlemiel. It’s a Yiddish word — a New Yorkism — which President Trump may know. It means a foolish person, in this case a president who accepts the North Korean leader’s invitation to a summit meeting with no preparation but a touching belief in his own negotiating brilliance. That summit is now off. ......... The president announced he would be a no-show at next month’s planned meeting after North Korea showed “tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement.” Trump was referring to recent comments by North Korean officials. The latest called Vice President Pence “ignorant and stupid.” Pence is neither, but it was not smart of him to advance Libya as the model for North Korea’s nuclear disarmament. Not only did Libya essentially capitulate to Western demands, but its leader, Moammar Gaddafi, lost both his regime and his life. ......... Trump’s narcissism and his lack of empathy are a hindrance in foreign affairs. He has to put himself in the shoes of his adversaries and that he cannot do. ......... he was wrong in the first place to plunge into a summit that had not been meticulously planned. Characteristically, his ego got the best of him and he trusted his instincts which he feels are never wrong. It is the conviction of a schlemiel.

North Korea nuclear test tunnels 'destroyed'

South Korean president says Trump cancelling Kim Jong Un summit is 'very regretful and disconcerting'

Twitter Critics Mercilessly Mock Trump For Canceling Summit With Kim
Donald Trump cancels Kim Jong-un summit, citing North Korea’s ‘tremendous anger’ and boasts of US’s ‘massive’ nukes
'Very Perplexed': International Confusion, Concern After Trump Cancels Summit: "Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of permanent peace are historic tasks that can neither be abandoned nor delayed," Yonhap quotes Moon as saying.......... Moon, who spoke to Kim Jong Un in a historic meeting in April, was in Washington earlier this week to meet with Trump and discuss strategy for the summit......... And other world leaders expressed confusion or alarm about Trump's decision. ........... British Prime Minister Theresa May said the U.K. is "disappointed" that the talks have been called off ........ On Tuesday, Trump warned that there was a "very substantial chance [the meeting] won't work out." North Korea had been signaling that it might call off the summit itself, objecting to military exercises in South Korea and comments from American politicians.

North Korea launches tirade against ‘stupid’ US officials: North Korea has launched a tirade against the “ignorant and stupid remarks” of US officials and threatened to walk away from a landmark summit with US President Donald Trump next month..........“Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behaviour of the United States,” said Choe Son Hui, a North Korean vice-foreign minister, on Thursday. ........ The comments followed continued references by US officials, in particular vice-president Mike Pence, to the “Libya model” for denuclearisation, which is increasingly being used by the White House as a euphemism for the overthrow and murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. ....... Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi was toppled and murdered in 2011 by western-backed rebels — a fate that North Korean officials believe he could have avoided had he not abandoned his nuclear weapons programme years earlier. ....... the potentially historic meeting has been thrown into jeopardy in recent days amid a bitter backlash from Pyongyang over what it calls Washington’s “unilateral” demands. ....... At the crux of the issue lies a chasm in perception over what prompted the summit in the first place. .......... Mr Trump believes his “maximum pressure” strategy coerced Mr Kim to the negotiating table and the US can dictate terms as a result. ......... For its part, North Korea said it agreed to the meeting out of its own volition and should be treated as an equal nuclear power in negotiations. ........ Initially hailed as “gracious gesture” by Mr Trump, the dismantlement of the site has been criticised by experts, who say evidence about the extent of the regime’s nuclear programme will be lost in the process. 

North Korea says it has officially dismantled its nuclear test site

When Trump meets Kim, a whole lot could go wrong: Washington and Pyongyang are presenting different interpretations of what denuclearization means to the world (more on that later), and they clearly have conflicting expectations about how the mechanics would work...... Pyongyang is thought to have a number of deadly agents in its hands, including anthrax, cholera and the plague....... Kim and Trump's red lines may be unbridgeable. Although the North Korean dictator has been talking about peace treaties and a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, there is a strong likelihood that he never intended to follow through. As last week's "no unilateral denuclearization" announcement indicated, it defies common sense for the Kim regime to give up its nuclear weapons after decades of research, development and testing. North Korea has endured harsh sanctions, political isolation and financial deprivation; why would it destroy its functioning nuclear deterrent at the urging of the U.S. now? ...... The summit may be called off.

North Korea: U.S.' actions will determine if there is a summit or a "nuclear-to-nuclear showdown"

China’s backroom talks with North Korea thrust into spotlight: Trump blames Beijing for summit setbacks, but experts say Pyongyang is not a vassal state........ Analysts say Kim Jong Un could be playing the big powers off each other to North Korea’s advantage ...... China has always preferred to do diplomacy in quiet back rooms, far away from the public glare. ....... But against the backdrop of a similarly epoch-making diplomatic opening between the US and North Korea, Beijing’s behind-the-scenes role has been thrust into the limelight by US President Donald Trump.......... It is a position where China is profoundly uncomfortable. “One side is whispering, and the other is saying everything through a bullhorn,” joked one foreign diplomat. ........... China insists it backs peace talks between the US and North Korea, although it wants bilateral talks replaced by multilateral talks as soon as possible, giving Beijing a seat at the table.......... North Korea’s overture to the US of a freeze on nuclear testing earlier this year was not accompanied by a corresponding freeze on military exercises in the South. ........ China has always championed the idea of a “dual freeze” — of nuclear tests by the North and military manoeuvres by the South. ....... Kim Il Sung, Mr Kim’s grandfather, grew adept at playing the Soviet Union against China in the 1950s and 1960s, and now his grandson may be using the same tactics with China and the US.

The hypothetical reunification of Korea: ...... the transfers from West Germany to East Germany in 1989, calculating a cost at around €1.7trn in today's euros, around 62 per cent of West Germany's current GDP, or roughly 8 per cent of the European Union's nominal GDP ......... The Korean populations are closer in size, with around 26m North Korean citizens compared to South Korea's 51m, a near 2-to-1 ratio versus West and East Germany's split of around 4-to-1. So all else being equal, the lack of a need for serious population flows from south to north should at least partly aid unification. ........ Much of the industrial base in Germany that supported the war efforts during the 1940s were located in the former East Germany. Mercedes, BMW, VW, ThyssenKrupp, and Bosch, which are household names today, but all of them had major factories before May 1945 in support of Germany’s military operations. The industrial ‘culture’ has never disappeared in EG, even if it had faded somewhat under communist rule. ........ the severe lack of industrial infrastructure north of the Korean border will ultimately require heavier investment than Eastern Germany. For perspective on just how far behind North Korea's infamously isolated economy is, UBS estimates GDP per capita in North Korea to be only $648. In comparison, the equivalent figure south of the peninsula comes in at $27,396. ........ Scaling its per-capita figure up to nationwide GDP, North Korea's economy totals $16.3bn, about 12 per cent of Jeff Bezos's net worth. If North Korea's economy was to match it's southern counterpart, this figure would have to grow by a factor of 43, or $684bn. ....... the US, China, Japan, and South Korea split the costs evenly: USD500 billion each over a decade. ......... This would be 2.4%, 3.5%, 9.7%, and 29.5% of today’s GDP of the US, China, Japan, and SK, and only 1.7%, 1.6%, 7.3%, and 18.3% of the GDP of the four nations over the coming decade. This price tag seems affordable for the four countries mentioned above. ........... Around $2trn over ten years then. Whether the four named countries will deem it “affordable” is another question, particularly as the Trump administration seems reticent to fiscally support Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria last year. ...... the extreme malnutrition in North Korea. A UNICEF estimate from January estimates around 200,000 children in North Korea suffer from the affliction. Malnutrition, of course, carries health effects beyond childhood, such as a reduction in motor skills and learning ability. ........ Malnutrition’s economic costs are substantial: productivity losses to individuals are estimated at more than 10 percent of lifetime earnings, and gross domestic product (GDP) lost to malnutrition runs as high as 2 to 3 percent ....... less risk of nuclear apocalypse is bullish for global growth.

Britain disappointed after Trump cancels North Korea summit: UK PM May
Canceling of Trump-Kim Meeting Upends Asia but Could Help China: “Trump walking away from the summit lets North Korea meet all its objectives: public recognition, lighter sanctions, damage to U.S. alliances and continued nuclear advancement” ........ Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, on the other hand, may be breathing a sigh of relief. Officials in Tokyo were worried that the talks were moving too quickly, without enough Japanese involvement, and could result in a deal that would benefit the United States but leave Japan vulnerable to North Korea’s arsenal. ........ Mr. Trump also called Mr. Xi a “world-class poker player,” a backhanded compliment for a world leader whom Mr. Trump has called a friend and a partner in enforcing international sanctions on the North over its nuclear weapons program. ...... The confusion and finger-pointing show how complex the situation is, with numerous actors negotiating in multiple channels with myriad and sometimes overlapping agendas. ....... Chinese analysts say China has much to gain from a peace deal that would prevent a potentially disastrous conflict with the United States on its border, and that in the long run might result in the removal of American troops from South Korea. ....... “Blaming the Chinese for the change in tone from North Korea strikes me as trying to find a Chinese scapegoat for a summit failure"

My holiday in North Korea – what I learned in the world's most secretive state: On our 10-night tour, our three English speaking guides, the enforcer, the cheerleader and the persuader, show us a good time while keeping us on message. They take the lead in the open mic sessions on the bus that becomes our daytime home. They sing Korean folk songs with gusto but take even more pleasure in telling jokes against Americans and Japanese, the latter loathed on both sides of the DMZ for their brutal colonisation (1910-1945) and the “comfort women” they conscripted to pleasure the Imperial Army. ......... citizens have no foreign television, no internet and no right to travel outside their provinces. The fields, seen through the windows of the bus, are ploughed by oxen and harvested by hand. On occasion, uniformed soldiers are spotted digging ditches. Housing allocation ensures that children stay with their parents until they get married. Workers have 15 days holiday a year plus Sundays. What do they do? Go to the cinema or have a picnic in the park.

Inside the luxury world of Kim Jong-un: satellite images revealed that construction had been completed on a series of five private aircraft runways next to a few of the leader’s palaces. ...... "These runways are located near Kim family compounds - sometimes within the security perimeters - and next to private train stations that were used by Kim Jong Il” ...... The palace area is said to also house the leader’s private yachts, jet-skis and villas used for entertaining guests, while another extravagant palace a short drive from the new runway was said to be a summer haunt of Kenji Fujimoto, the Japanese chef who claimed to have spent summers with the leader’s father. ....... The former NBA (National Basketball Association) star described the life of Mr Kim, who he referred to as a “good friend” at the time, as a “seven-star” party of endless cocktails and jet-skis following a week spent on the leader’s private island........"It's [the island] like going to Hawaii or Ibiza, but he's the only one that lives there," Mr Rodman said. ........... "He's got 50 to 60 [people] around him all the time - just normal people, drinking cocktails and laughing the whole time..... "If you drink a bottle of tequila, it's the best tequila," he added. "Everything you want, he has the best." ......Mr Kim’s 200 foot-yacht was a "cross between a ferry and a Disney boat," according to Mr Rodman. ....... Princess Yachts, the manufacturer of the yacht, is owned by LVMH, the French luxury goods group which includes the luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton. The 98MY model of the yacht, which was an updated version of the 95MY, was estimated to cost more than £5.6 million at the time. ........ Perhaps inspired by the boarding school days of his formative teenage years spent in Switzerland, Mr Kim also ordered a “world class” luxury ski resort to be built, which opened last year. The estimated £21 million ski resort, which features 70 miles of multi-level ski runs, a hotel, a heliport and cable cars, was visited by Mr Kim in late 2013 who spent New Year’s Eve there and described “with great satisfaction" that everything was "impeccable". ........ While some of the country's nearly 24 million people might be lacking food, shelter and other basic necessities, the North Korean leader's regime was found to have had an increase in imports of musical instruments, cosmetics, handbags, leather products, watches and cars made in Japan and China ........ Other purchases that were revealed included bottles of high-end alcohol costing the state $30 million (£20 million), electronic goods costing $37 million and luxury watches costing a further $8.2 million.

Libyan remarks may have sunk Donald Trump’s North Korea summit: both sides have resorted to chest-beating about their respective nuclear arsenals. ....... increasingly clear that the US and North Korea understand different things by the term “denuclearisation”. For the Trump administration, that must simply mean that North Korea scraps its nuclear weapons and dismantles its nuclear programme. For the North Koreans, however, “denuclearisation” was always framed as being part of a general disarmament process on the Korean peninsula, which would probably also involve the departure of US troops from South Korea ..... In the soap opera of “the Donald” and “little rocket man”, almost any plot-twist remains possible.

Trump Can Win by Walking Away From Korea Talks: What’s more, the U.S. can promise Kim not to invade his country. The U.S. can entice Kim with cash and trade. The U.S. can perform all kinds of diplomatic acrobatics and pretend this tyrant is a statesman. But no one can guarantee that one day the North Korean people will not rise up against him. The Soviet Union had a nuclear arsenal that could destroy the world dozens of times over, but even that regime eventually met its end after Boris Yeltsin decided holding the empire together wasn’t worth the repression required. ..... Back when Bolton was undersecretary of state in George W. Bush’s first term, he used to keep framed copies of Iranian and North Korean propaganda sheets that denounced him. ..... Bolton knows the nuclear file and rogue states better than almost anyone else in the foreign policy establishment. If anyone will know a tough nuclear agreement, it’s the man who has spent the last three years trying to get America out of the weak one Barack Obama cut with Iran....... Ronald Reagan was also eager for a diplomatic victory, in his summit with Mikhail Gorbachev. The two leaders came close to an agreement that would end the arms race that had bankrupted the Soviets. But at the last minute, Gorbachev asked Reagan to end testing missile defense systems. The Bolton of that scenario – administration hard-liner Richard Perle – told Reagan that this demand would kill the Pentagon's program. ....... Reagan went against popular opinion and walked out of the summit. Within three years the Soviet Union collapsed......Forget “the art of the deal”; sometimes you win by walking away. Reagan never received a Nobel Peace Prize for reaching a grand bargain with Gorbachev. He had to settle for winning the Cold War.

White House: North Korea's response to Pence was 'last straw'
Trump calls off North Korea summit with Kim

'Political Dummy' and 'Libya Model': The Mike Pence - North Korea Exchange That Killed the Summit: When asked to clarify if he was threatening Kim as the 'Libya model' ended with regime change and death for Moammar Gadhafi, Pence added this is not a 'threat' so much as a 'fact' ......... She added: “To borrow their words, we can also make the U.S. taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined up to now.”

South Korea's President Moon Says Talks With Kim Will Resume When U.S. Air Drills End: Pyongyang pulled out of high-level talks with Seoul on May 16, blunting the optimism that followed Moon and Kim’s historic April 27 meeting, in which the latter pledged “a new era of peace” on the peninsula. Calling the joint drills a “provocative military ruckus” North Korea also said it would “reconsider” Kim’s planned June 12 summit with the U.S. if America tried to “force” its “unilateral nuclear abandonment.” ........ Pyongyang has long regarded U.S.–South Korea joint military exercises a rehearsal for invasion and particularly objects to the inclusion of bombers. The U.S. dropped more ordinance on North Korea in the 1950’s than it did in the entire Pacific theater during World War II. ...... While Pinkston has described North Korean nuclear disarmament as analogous to “the Pope abandoning Jesus” he says that Moon, an accomplished diplomat, would be hoping that social interaction and engagement will persuade Kim leader he is not under threat. ...... Trump meanwhile, “is applying the kind of tools and instruments and tactics in a local real estate market in NYC,” says Pinkston. But “with an international system there are no courts, there’s no third-party enforcer. It’s way over his head and it’s dangerous.”

North Korea Demolishes Its Nuclear Test Site In A 'Huge Explosion'

Trump cancels summit with North Korea's Kim, warns that military ready: and warned that the U.S. military was ready in the event of any reckless acts by North Korea. ....... what would have been the first-ever meeting between a serving U.S. president and a North Korean leader in Singapore on June 12. ..... The cancellation came just hours after North Korea followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels at its main nuclear test site, which Pyongyang said was proof of its commitment to end nuclear testing....... North Korea’s announcement of its plan to destroy its only nuclear test site had been widely welcomed as a positive, if largely symbolic, step. Kim has declared his nuclear force complete, amid speculation the site was obsolete anyway...... South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who worked hard to help set up the summit and urged Trump at a White House meeting on Tuesday not to let a rare opportunity slip away, said he was “perplexed” by the cancellation. He urged Trump and Kim to talk directly......... The reference to Pence that offended the White House came in a statement released by North Korean media citing Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui. She called Pence a “political dummy” for comparing North Korea - a “nuclear weapons state” - to Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi gave up his unfinished nuclear development program, only to be killed later by NATO-backed fighters. ....... “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God that they will never have to be used” ..... Rhetoric reached new heights under Trump as he mocked Kim as “little rocket man” and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary. Kim called Trump mentally deranged. ....... It comes at a time when Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has drawn criticism and his moving of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem has fueled violence. An investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election hangs over his presidency.

Why did anyone ever take Trump’s North Korea diplomacy seriously?: Trump lies and says nonsense all the time. ....... He never delivered his much-promised plan to release a “terrific” Obamacare alternative that would cover everyone. Instead, he backtracked on his promise to protect Medicaid from cuts. He never took on the National Rifle Association. He never delivered a solution for DREAMers, and, of course, Mexico isn’t going to pay for the wall...... He’s dropped the promise to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for Medicare. He dropped the promise to break up big banks. He dropped the promise of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill. He dropped the promise to develop a tax program that would leave the rich paying more. And, of course, his version of “draining the swamp“ has brought a level of corruption to official Washington that would have embarrassed the congressional barons of the Gilded Age....... it has been conducted so far like you would expect a bullshitter to conduct policy. ...... “for at least two decades, leaders in North Korea have been seeking a personal meeting with an American president,” and across all that time, American presidents have been saying no. ...... “Kim Jong Il wanted to meet with President Clinton.” ...... rather than defend the president’s dovish new direction, Republicans — including the White House itself — spun the meeting as a concession by the North Koreans. ....... When a notorious liar does something dramatic and new and immediately tries (poorly) to cover up what it is that he’s doing, a sensible reaction would have been to become alarmed and suspicious — not to suddenly become credulous and naive. ....... Much of the US national security establishment, however, decided to simply block out everything they have learned from everything Trump has ever done in his career in business and politics. ...... It’s good that Trump gave up the ghost here rather than trying to fake his way through a summit. But it’s critical that the country’s political and media establishment try to actually learn its lesson here. Trump lies about a lot of things. He talks nonsense constantly. And while those of us who don’t work in the White House can’t stop him from doing those things, we can certainly cover him as a habitual liar and bullshitter rather than waking up each morning like we’ve never seen Trump in action before.

Trump canceled the Kim Jong Un summit — but you can still buy the official summit coin

Kim Jong Un holds second meeting with Xi Jinping in China: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has paid a second visit to China in two months, meeting with President Xi Jinping ahead of highly anticipated talks between Kim and US President Donald Trump...... Kim said he was willing to denuclearize "as long as relevant parties eliminate the hostile policy and security threats" against Pyongyang...... In an unprecedented meeting at the demilitarized zone separating the two countries, Kim became the first North Korean leader to step into South Korean territory since 1953...... During the summit, Kim and Moon committed themselves to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and pledged to bring a formal end to the Korean War, 65 years after hostilities ceased...... In the past, North Korean leaders have been reluctant to travel by air on international journeys, especially Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, who famously went everywhere in his personal armored train....... The Chinese President is reportedly planning a trip to the North Korean capital Pyongyang

South Korean president says Trump cancelling Kim Jong Un summit is 'very regretful and disconcerting': "It is very regretful and disconcerting that the US-NK summit will not happen as planned," Moon's office said. "Denuclearization and the lasting peace on the Korean peninsula cannot be abandoned or delayed as they are the historical assignment.........."South Korea's Blue House added: "The sincerity of the affected parties who have been working to resolve the problem has not changed. It is hard to resolve sensitive and difficult diplomatic issues with the current way of communications. [We] hope that the leaders resolve problems through direct and close dialogue." ...... The meeting, which was scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, would have been the first-ever face-to-face meeting between a U.S. president and a North Korean leader...... North Korea had recently canceled planned talks with South Korea, saying the annual military drills between its southern neighbor and the U.S. represented a threat.