North Korea has officially suspended their nuclear and long-range missile programs and are currently seeking to close its nuclear tests site, reports the AP.
North Korea’s state run news outlet, Korean Central News Agency, announced that the suspension went into effect on Saturday, just three days after President Trump threatened to “respectfully leave the meeting” should the interaction not bear fruit. It appears that Kim Jong-un is acting in good faith to ensure President Trump that their meeting will be beneficial in denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
North Korea claims to be making the move in order to shift its national focus and to improve their economy. The recent round of international and American sanctions have crippled the hermit country and appears to have forced them to the table. President Trump has vowed to maintain maximum pressure on North Korea and has rejected sanction relief until North Korea ends its nuclear and long-range missile programs.
North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are set to meet in the border Truce Village, also known as Panmunjom, to discuss the possible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
The North’s decisions were borne from the ruling party’s Central Committee, who convened to discuss a “new stage” of policies.
The sudden suspension of the North’s nuclear and long-range missile program comes just three days after United Stated President Donald Trump announced his intentions to walk-out of the meeting had he felt there would be no progress.
“I hope to have a very successful meeting,” President Trump said standing next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “If we don’t think it’s going to be fruitful, we’re not going to go. If the meeting when I’m there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting,” said President Trump.
President Trump let his intentions be known after it was revealed that CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jon-un over the Easter weekend. Pompeo traveled to meet with Kim in order to lay groundwork for the up and coming summit between the American President and the North Korean Dictator. President Trump signaled that a meeting could take place as soon as early June.
President Trump stated his plan is to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula with Kim Jong-un while vowing, “We will not repeat the mistakes of previous administrations [and] our campaign of maximum pressure will continue until North Korea denuclearizes.”
North Korea initially stated one of their conditions regarding denuclearization would be the full removal of United States troops from South Korea, a demand President Trump has already acknowledged as a “nonstarter.” North Korea has since recanted preconditions and has agreed to move forward without the consideration of removing U.S. troops from South Korea.
The sudden shift in North Korea’s attitude should be met with both skepticism and optimism, as this is the most progress made with the ‘hermit kingdom’ since the country’s inception in 1948. However we cannot overlook their track record in calling for these summits as a means to sanction relief. If they truly wish to enter the world economy, negotiating with Donald Trump is a wise move. The flip side of that argument could spell further disaster for North Korea as President Trump has already displayed his intentions of enforcing red lines and has openly expressed disdain for the North Korean Dictator. Any further provocations from North Korea could spiral into further sanctions, possible military intervention.
Overall, Americans should be thrilled at the hardline stance President Trump has taken with North Korea and its introverted dictator. The results from the Trump doctrine regarding the ‘hermit kingdom’ have been nothing short of astonishing and it’s in the best interest of the entire world for President Trump to seal this deal. As always with North Korea, hope for the best but expect the worst.