Trump-Kim Chemistry Will Not Sway N. Korea On Denuclearization

14 Jan

Trump-Kim Chemistry Will Not Sway N. Korea On Denuclearization

The personal relationship between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump has no impact on Pyongyang’s denuclearization stance toward Washington, said experts.”The recent North Korean statement responding to Trump’s birthday card was very clear,” said Robert Manning, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “The personal feelings between Trump and Kim have no bearing on DPRK policy.”The DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official English name for North Korea.Over the past two years, Trump has attempted to parlay his personal relationship with Kim into a breakthrough on denuclearization talks. Kim Kye Gwan, first vice foreign minister of North Korea, arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, July 26, 2011The Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s state media, issued the statement on Saturday.Ken Gause, director of the Adversary Analytics Program at CNA, said the remarks do not mean that Kim will end his personal relationship with Trump but suggested, “Trump can’t trade on that relationship to get denuclearization or maybe even a freeze on testing.”Throughout the Trump administration’s diplomatic outreach to Pyongyang that began in 2018, Trump has touted his personal relationship with Kim, which culminated in an exchange of letters between the two.”I was really tough and so was he, and we went back and forth,” Trump told supporters at a West Virginia rally on September 30, 2018, months after he met Kim for the first time in Singapore. “Since the failed Hanoi Summit in February, North Korea has demanded that the U.S. relax sanctions imposed on the country. Kim’s advisor said in his statement that North Korea’s offer to close down a main nuclear facility at Yongbyon in exchange for sanctions relief made at the Hanoi Summit is no longer valid.  “There will never be such negotiations as that in Vietnam, in which we proposed exchanging a core nuclear facility for the lifting of some U.N. sanctions,” said Kim Kye Gwan.Klingner said, “Pyongyang’s demands remain constant, for the U.S. to capitulate to regime demands if Washington wants to have another nuclear agreement.”Gause said, “The U.S. will have to provide concessions to restart negotiations,” adding, “Birthday greetings won’t get it done.”Gause does not expect Trump to “offer concessions to restart negotiations until he feels emboldened domestically.”Gause said, “That is not likely to happen until and unless he is re-elected.” He continued, “I don’t expect major progress on the relationship until 2021, provided Trump is re-elected.”Trump is aiming for his second term as president in the upcoming election in November. But his re-election prospects are clouded by the impeachment trial Trump is expected to face by the Senate after the House votes this week to transmit the article of impeachment to the Senate. 

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