When Mr. Donald J. Trump landed back home after a summit in Singapore with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, whom he called talented, the U.S. president declared victory.
“Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”
The Tuesday summit, where the president repeatedly heaped praised on the 34-year-old human rights violator, was a global media spectacle. However, it appears to have lacked substance.
Ahead of the meeting, Mr. Trump insisted his aim was to ensure the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. After the meeting, the President had no verifiable proof of a path to denuclearization, only a co-signed document which reaffirmed the North Korean’s commitment to South Korea to do so.
“You can’t declare victory when you have no details,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney told me on Tuesday.
Mayor Kenney – who’s not a fan of the commander-in-chief and who last week called him a fragile egomaniac after he dis-invited the Philadelphia Eagles from the White House – said it was the right step to reach out. But he’s skeptical that North Korea, whose record on human rights is among the most egregious, will follow through on its pledge.
The Democrat mayor isn’t the only one skeptical. On Tuesday, The New York Times ran a piece with the headline: ‘Lawmakers in Both Parties Are Skeptical as They Assess North Korea Meeting.’
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a foreign policy wonk, noted that North Korea has twice promised to rid themselves of nuclear weapons, once in the 1990s under then President Bill Clinton and again in the 2000s with then President George W. Bush.
And Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he’s glad the president and Kim Jong-un were able to meet, but “it is difficult to determine what of concrete nature has occurred,”
Even Mr. Trump – who said he would know within the first minute whether Kim was serious about denuclearization – has his doubts.
“Honestly, I think he’s going to do these things. I may be wrong, I mean, I may stand before you in six months and say: ‘Hey, I was wrong.’ I don’t know if I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of excuse.”
A CNBC article published ahead of the summit quoted several experts who warned that Kim Jung Un would never give up his nukes.
Halting tests and missile launches and dismantling sites don’t reflect a commitment to roll back nuclear capacities and hardware, the CNBC article quoted Tong Zhao, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center, a Beijing-based policy think tank, as saying.
Sung-Yoon Lee, a Korean studies professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, told CNBC that Kim’s late father, Kim Jong Il, “played all the great leaders” in the early 2000s by calling for meetings with Washington, Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo only to offer them “repeated lies of denuclearization.”
Mr. Trump on Wednesday in a tweet said that North Korea is no longer the US’ biggest and most dangerous problem. In a separate tweet, the president stated that the Fake News, whom he accused of downplaying his summit, is the country’s biggest enemy.
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