Pentagon vs. Pyongyang

Lack of Results Sour US-North Korean Relations


Associated Press

A North Korean Taepodong-2 ballistic missile, which is thought to be able to carry a nuclear warhead.

Sean Moriarty, Staff Writer

America’s relations with North Korea, while never especially amicable, recently nosedived due to North Korea’s unfulfilled promises of complete denuclearization following the Singapore Summit.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had promised U.S. President Donald Trump that North Korea would begin dismantling its controversial arsenal of nuclear weapons after the two leaders came to an agreement during their June 12 summit meeting in Singapore.

During a press conference at the summit, President Trump asserted that North Korea had shown an “unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and further stated that the nation had agreed to initiate “vigorous negotiations to implement” the denuclearization “as soon as possible.”

However, further negotiations with North Korea have stalled due to a lack of progress on the agreement, and further state visits to Korea have been discarded, including one by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The White House […] tried to shoot for the Moon.”

— Adam Mount

The U.S. was “not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Trump claimed via tweet on August 28th, mere hours after Pompeo publicly announced the visit.

Pompeo had previously visited North Korea twice: once on April 18 to prepare for the June summit between Supreme Leader Kim and President Trump and again on July 8th in an overnight stay regarding denuclearization. While President Trump felt the April meeting was a success, the July meeting resulted in a complete lack of progress and anger on both sides. Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who previously promised to speak with Secretary Pompeo personally, refused to meet, and Pompeo and Korean negotiators failed to agree on anything concrete.

Following the unsuccessful visit, the official North Korean news agency labelled Secretary Pompeo’s negotiations as “regrettable” and his demands as “gangster-like.” In a letter leaked to the Washington Post, senior North Korean officials warned Pompeo that denuclearization efforts were “at stake” and could quickly “fall apart.”

Pompeo defended the deal’s stagnation, telling journalists that Korean denuclearization “is a decades-long challenge” advanced by “getting the North Koreans to make a fundamental strategic decision” about their national security.

Still, other experts disagree with Pompeo, including Adam Mount, a senior member of the Federation of American Scientists.

“The White House […] tried to shoot for the Moon” when attempting denuclearization, Mount told CNN in an interview, elaborating that “it’s clear that North Korea […] sees very little reason to take steps in that direction.” Mr. Mount could not be reached for further comment by the Paw Print.

In response to the stagnating talks, Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated in a news conference that the U.S. Military would resume previously-stopped military exercises.

“We took this step to suspend several of the larger exercises as a good-faith measure coming out of the Singapore summit,” Mattis explained. After the failure of negotiations, the Pentagon has “no plans at this time to suspend any more.”