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Korea breakthrough?
Fantastic article for those that get starry eyed..

Quote:A good clue that we are being set up for some bullshit is that not only is the Trump administration’s North Korea policy being headed up by Donald Trump, but it has been conducted so far like you would expect a bullshitter to conduct policy. The key turnabout in the region, after all, has come from the fact that Trump decided to make a large, unilateral concession to the North KoreansAs Josh Smith and David Brunnstrom reported for Reuters in March, “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.

“North Korea has said these things before,” Mark Dubowitz of the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies told them. “Kim Jong Il wanted to meet with President Clinton.” Trump, perhaps wisely and likely under the influence of South Korea’s new progressive leader Moon Jae-in, has decided to reverse longstanding US policy and make this concession to Pyongyang. They plan to meet in Singapore on June 12. It’s not a crazy thing to try, and it’s certainly a good deal less crazy than Trump’s previous policy of berating the North Koreans with inflammatory tweets. Republicans would, of course, normally slam a Democratic president who decided to do this. But there are worse sins than hypocrisy in this world, and the Nixon-to-China dynamic could be beneficial here.

Except rather than defend the president’s dovish new direction, Republicans — including the White House itself — are spinning the meeting as a concession by the North Koreans“Trump’s Tough on North Korea Approach Is Working,” according to a press release from the RNC, and this kind of spin has gotten picked up everywhere from Fox News to local television stationsWhen a notorious liar does something dramatic and new and starts immediately lying about what it is that he’s doing, a sensible reaction is to become alarmed and suspicious — not to suddenly become credulous and naive.
North Korea nuclear program: Why take Donald Trump seriously? - Vox

The article spells out a series of lies by Trump (and hence why this time should be different?) and the risks of the present course.
It looks like that previous article (in the previous entry in this thread) was onto something..

Quote:North Korea said it is rejecting Libya-style denuclearization, the North's state media said on Wednesday. It also says it will need to reconsider negotiations with the U.S. if the Trump adminstration insists on it giving up its nuclear program. Citing first vice minister of foreign affairs Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea's central news agency also said the fate of the U.S.-North Korea summit as well as bilateral relations "would be clear" if Washington speaks of a Libya-style denuclearization for the North.
North Korea says it rejects Libya-style denuclearization: Reuters

Of course the right came in full force, Nobel peace price pressure groups formed already, the usual whining about the 'mainstream' media (which gave both ample coverage and credit to Trump's Korea 'breakthrough')..
Quote:Experts believe Kim thinks nuclear weapons keep his regime safe. Part of that is because of what happened to Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s former dictator. Qaddafi had a nuclear weapons program but in 2003 he made a deal to remove those weapons from his country in exchange for economic benefits. Then in 2011, anti-Qaddafi rebels captured and killed him — with American help. Had he kept his nuclear weapons, it’s entirely possible the US would not have intervened during the country’s civil war and Qaddafi would not have met such an end. “Kim Jong Un does not want to end up like Qaddafi, overthrown with Western military assistance after giving up his nuclear weapons program,” Kelsey Davenport, a nuclear expert at the Arms Control Association, told me. In fact, the vice foreign minister explicitly referenced Libya in his statement on Tuesday, saying that North Korea is not Libya, which “met a miserable fate.” All of this means that the US and North Korea remain in a stalemate over nuclear weapons heading into the summit.
North Korea statement threatens Trump-Kim summit and insults John Bolton - Vox
This article is actually quite funny. It lists all the ways Trump touted his summit with the North Korean leader as a breakthrough that nobody else could make and due to his superior dealmaking skills worthy of a Nobel prize.

Then reality hit and perhaps the summit is off.

The White House now argues that they never really expected it to go ahead anyway..

Quote:But by raising expectations about the meeting, and characterizing it as reflective of his superior deal-making skills, Trump has put himself in a position where he might need the summit to happen more than Kim does. The president did himself no favors by violating the Iran nuclear agreement last week — a move that signaled to the North Korean regime that the U.S. government’s word can’t be trusted, even if North Korea lives up to the terms of a deal.

It’s possible that North Korea’s statement is just part of an attempt to extract added concessions from the Trump administration if a Trump-Kim summit does eventually happen. Trump officials have already signaled they might accept something short of full denuclearization, with new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling Fox News on Sunday that “America’s interest here is preventing the risk that North Korea will launch a nuclear weapon into [Los Angeles] or Denver or into the very place we’re sitting here this morning… that’s our objective” — a position different than calling for North Korea to denuclearize altogether.
White House pretends it never expected its much-touted North Korea summit to happen – ThinkProgress
Quote:But instead of Kim hoping the US grants him that legitimacy, it now appears Trump is the one trying to hold onto a meeting that North Korea appears willing to ditch. Additionally, Trump is reportedly not thrilled about preparing for the summit, which is expected to cover not only the issue of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula but virtually every major flashpoint in East Asian geopolitics. Time quoted a senior administration official as saying Trump "doesn't think he needs to" prepare that much for the summit with Kim. 

But if Trump is ill-prepared for the summit and it does blow up in his face, he can share some of the blame. "It increasingly looks like the Moon administration overstated North Korea's willingness to deal," said Robert Kelly, a political-science professor who's an expert on North Korea. He added: "Moon likely exaggerated this to tie Trump to a diplomatic track to prevent him from backsliding into last year's war-threats which scared the daylights out of South Koreans. If Trump were less vain and had allowed his national security staff to vet the NK offer, he might have learned this."
Trump's lauded North Korea summit looks set to fail - Business Insider
A North-Korean fashion show at a Republican party, how weird can you get..

Quote:This bizarre tribute to Trump’s diplomacy with North Korea is even stranger when you consider that the beginning of 2018, Trump was taunting Kim by saying his “nuclear button” was bigger and more powerful than his. Indeed, the homage to North Korea is a dramatic example of the about-face among Republicans — especially Trump backers — when it comes to Pyongyang. It mirrors Trump’s own reversal from threatening “fire and fury” on North Korea to praising the brutal dictator as the total package, a “funny guy” with “a great personality” who is “very smart” and “loves his people.”

Trump’s supporters have followed suit. According to a poll released last week from Ipsos and the Daily Beast, self-identified Republicans view the North Korean authoritarian who uses public executions and forced labor to oppress his people and, until recently, was threatening to fire missiles at the US territory of Guam, with a higher favorability than House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Trump supporters celebrated the president by paying tribute to North Korea - Vox
Quote:North Korea has continued to upgrade its only known nuclear reactor used to fuel its weapons program, satellite imagery has shown, despite ongoing negotiations with the US and a pledge to denuclearise. Infrastructure improvements at the Yongbyon nuclear plant are “continuing at a rapid pace”, according to an analysis by monitoring group 38 North of commercial satellite images taken on 21 June.
North Korea making 'rapid' upgrades to nuclear reactor despite summit pledges | World news | The Guardian

Quote:Satellite images showing North Korea making substantial improvements to one of its nuclear research facilities are raising alarms that the government has little interest in actually giving up its nuclear arsenal. Just two weeks after President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a deal committing the U.S. to security guarantees in exchange for North Korea denuclearizing, satellite images show the country making “rapid” improvements to its Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, according to 38 North, which monitors the country.
Satellite images raise alarms about North Korean nukes | TheHill

But hey, Trump sorted it all out, right?
Quote:North Korea says talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were "regrettable." It accused the US of betraying the spirit of last month's summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It accused the US of trying to pressure it into unilaterally giving up its nukes and said the talks were "concerning" because they may "rattle our willingness for denuclearization that had been firm."
North Korea says talks with Pompeo 'regrettable' - Business Insider

Hey, didn't they agree to giving up their nukes?!
Quote:North Korean officials skipped out on a planned meeting with U.S. officials to discuss the return of remains belonging to American soldiers killed in the Korean War, CNN reported Thursday. The meeting was scheduled to be held in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, but North Korean officials simply never showed up. According to a senior U.S. official who spoke with CNN, the North Koreans gave no explanation for their absence. The snub comes weeks after President Trump bragged at a rally in Duluth, Minnesota that North Korea had already returned the remains of at least 200 U.S. soldiers, and was planning to return more. “We got back our great fallen heroes, the remains,” he said, declaring his diplomatic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 a victory. “In fact, today already 200 have been sent back.”
North Korea hasn’t returned U.S. soldiers’ remains, weeks after Trump bragged it did – ThinkProgress
Did Mike Pompeo get the memo? He was jubilant after the summit of the two Korean leaders in September. However..

Quote:The problem is their agreement is extremely vague — and may actually prove bad news for the United States. Here’s some of what they agreed to: Kim said that he’d travel to Seoul by the end of the year — a first for any North Korean leader — and that both sides will work to reduce tensions at their heavily militarized border. Kim and Moon even agreed to jointly bid to host the Olympics in 2032.

But on the issue that matters most to the United States — the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear program — no one can claim much progress. Kim said he’d allow international inspectors into the country to watch as he destroys a missile engine testing site and a major nuclear facility, but experts say Pyongyang doesn’t actually need those specific sites anymore, which makes that a much less significant concession than it sounds.

Kim added the caveat that he’d follow through on his concessions if the US makes unspecified concessions of its own. That’s a pretty important caveat: The North Korean leader has basically offered to give up very little while expecting America to concede more before anything happens.

“North Korea is still expecting Washington to make the first move,” Duyeon Kim, a nuclear and Koreas expert at the Center for a New American Security think tank, tells me. “The needle hasn’t moved at all.” President Donald Trump, however, claimed victory on Twitter, noting all the agreements between the two Koreas and Kim’s vow to take down some of his nuclear installations.
North and South Korea’s agreement is bad news for Trump - Vox

But Trump always claims victory, whether there is an actual victory or not..

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