Trump backs talks with North Korea despite nuclear stalemate
23 August 2018
The Trump administration is increasingly coming under criticism over the lack of any progress in talks with North Korea over denuclearisation following President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June.
A New York Times editorial on Monday derided Trump’s claims to have resolved the North Korean crisis as “the boasts of a man with little grasp of the complexity and difficulty of an issue that has long defied resolution.” It said negotiations over the elimination of North Korea’s nuclear missiles had “stalemated” and Pyongyang continued to produce nuclear fuel and missiles.
In a report issued on Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said North Korea continued to develop its nuclear program in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. It declared that such activities were “deeply regrettable” and “a cause of grave concern.”
The fact that North Korea is proceeding with its nuclear program is hardly a surprise. The joint statement released from the Trump-Kim summit spoke only in general terms of the need “to work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”—a vague phrase that Washington and Pyongyang interpreted differently.
North Korea has insisted that any moves toward denuclearisation on its part must be on a step-by-step basis in return for concessions from the US and its allies. Above all, Pyongyang is seeking an easing of crippling economic sanctions imposed unilaterally by the US and through the UN, as well as a formal peace treaty to end to its decades of isolation following the 1950–53 Korean War.
As a show of good faith, North Korea has suspended all nuclear and missile…