By Ken Bredemeier
U.S. President Donald Trump renewed his defense Sunday of the agreement he reached with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, saying it already has led to an end to Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and “rockets flying all over the place.”
Trump has voiced his irritation at U.S. critics’ assessment that the brief pact he and Kim signed at their Singapore summit was not specific enough to ensure an end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons development. The accord said Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” but set no timetable for the disarmament or terms for independent inspections of North Korean nuclear sites.
Trump, on Twitter, said, “Funny how the Fake News” – Trump’s term for news stories he doesn’t like – “in a coordinated effort with each other, likes to say I gave sooo much to North Korea because I ‘met.’ That’s because that’s all they have to disparage! We got so much for peace in the world, & more is being added in finals. Even got our hostages/remains!”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late last week the United States and North Korea will soon resume negotiations, possibly this week, and the U.S. “most definitely” is expecting verifiable North Korean action to denuclearize the Korean peninsula by the end of Trump’s first term in the White House in January 2021.
Trump also defended his decision to end military exercises with South Korea, long an irritant to North Korea, as Washington and Pyongyang attempt to finalize terms of the denuclearization.
“Holding back the ‘war games’ during the negotiations was my request because they are VERY EXPENSIVE and set a bad light during a good faith negotiation. Also, quite provocative. Can start up immediately if talks break down, which I hope will not happen!” he said.
While en route home from the summit, Trump tweeted, “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” an assessment both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Congress said amounted to hyperbole or wishful thinking, even as they as they mostly praised Trump’s effort in meeting with Kim.
One Trump critic, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer, mangled an American idiom and inadvertently praised Trump, saying that the summit was “all cattle and no hat,” meaning substantive and no talk, instead of the opposite, correct phrasing, he meant to say, “all hat and no cattle.”
Trump tweaked his political rival Sunday, saying, “Chuck Schumer said ‘the Summit was what the Texans call all cattle and no hat.’ Thank you Chuck, but are you sure you got that right? No more nuclear testing or rockets flying all over the place, blew up launch sites. Hostages already back, hero remains coming home & much more!”