Posts

The Text of the Statement Signed by the President and Kim Jong Un at the Singapore Summit

From CNN:

Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit

President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Convinced that the establishment of new US-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:
  1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
  2. The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
  3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
  4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
Having acknowledged that the US-DPRK summit — the first in history — was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in the joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations, led by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the US-DPRK summit.
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new US-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and the security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.
DONALD J. TRUMP
President of the United States of America
KIM JONG UN
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
June 12, 2018
Sentosa Island
Singapore

Joe Cirincione provides the analysis:

There is nothing new here in this statement. As I wrote on May 1st (emphasis mine):

When you hear or read Kim or other DPRK officials calling for denuclearization, part of what they mean is for the US to remove the nuclear umbrella that it provides to Japan and the ROK, if not the removal of the US military from the Korean Peninsula. Not giving up the DPRK’s nuclear deterrent. Sue Mi Terry, formerly a senior Korea analyst at the CIA, provides an explanation of what denuclearization means to Kim:

She said it’s significant that Kim spoke not of removing nuclear weapons from North Korea, but rather of the “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” as a whole. That formulation by the Kim government is “not new,” Terry told me, and has been accompanied in the past with demands for measures to preserve the regime’s security such as the signing of a peace treaty to finally end the Korean War, the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea, and the end of the U.S.-South Korean military alliance, which in turn would terminate the protection the United States extends to South Korea through its nuclear weapons. Hence, talk of a nuclear-free peninsula despite the fact that South Korea doesn’t have nuclear weapons. (In this respect, Kim was right to assert that he was simply echoing the policies of his father, who was also quoted by Chinese media as committing to the denuclearization of the peninsula even as he persisted in developing the nation’s nuclear-weapons arsenal.)

What Kim is talking about is not what the President or anyone on his team is talking about when they talk about denuclearization. Before US-DPRK negotiations have ever begun we have a fundamental mismatch of what the key term means. This will make negotiating more difficult if there is no agreement to what the key terms mean and key issues actually are. There is little doubt that President Moon knows exactly what Kim means when he talks about denuclearization. Moreover, President Moon is no doubt very clear about the President not wanting to keep US military personnel in the ROK. The President, per his longstanding belief dating back to 1987, sees this as a waste of money and another example of America’s allies and partners taking advantage of it and playing the US for suckers.

While this is all significantly better than threats, escalations, and preparations for war, Kim got what he needed out of this summit and the President really didn’t. Kim’s now met with the President of the United States, which elevates his status internally and makes US allies like Japan very nervous. He got to go out on the town in Singapore after his arrival. The President has still floated the idea of a possible invite for a follow on summit in the US – either at the White House or Mar a Lago. The President has made vague statements of assurances of that an agreement will guarantee Kim’s regime’s survival, as well as significant economic aid. And Kim hasn’t had to do anything he wasn’t going to do anyway in exchange for all of this. Including agreeing to do anything substantial as a result of yesterday’s summit.

The President and his supporters will try to push this as a huge win over the next several months heading into the midterm elections. A sign of initial diplomatic and foreign policy success to compete with and cancel out the coming bad news that will accompany the trade war and counter tariffs that will result from the tariffs that the President had demanded and insists will Make America Great again for the forgotten men and women of America who are forgotten no more. Slowly, however, reality will intrude. Kim will continue to not give an inch; he’ll simply play good Supreme Leader in juxtaposition to playing bad Supreme Leader last year.

Updated at 8:oo AM EDT: (h/t Cheryl Rofer in comments)

The President appears to have caught everyone off guard by stating he’s going to stop further Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational (JIIM) military exercises with our South Korean and Japanese allies.

Optics over substance.

Open thread!

(ETA: I fixed the missing Cirincione tweet that WP ate.)



US-DPRK Summit Part II: The Summiting!!!

As we wait for actual news to come out of the initial bilateral meeting between the President and Kim Jong Un with only interpreters present, just a few thoughts of what to look for as the evening/night here in the US wears on.

  1. The initial bilateral meeting is only the President, Kim, and interpreters. No note takers. This is significant and may lead to completely different read outs of the meeting. With the US presenting a read out that indicates the meeting went one way and the DPRK releasing one that contradicts it. Or, as has been the case so often, the US not releasing a read out until forced to because the other party to the meeting released one that cast the President in a bad light. Or details leaked from within the administration that did the same thing. This is why you never go into one of these meetings without your own interpreter and your own note taker!
  2. It has been reported that the communique has already been written and agreed to. While this isn’t all that uncommon, it will be interesting to see how different the communique is from either or both of the read outs, let alone the leaks, from the initial bilateral meetings or from whatever the President tweets once the summit is over.
  3. Earlier today it was reported that Secretary Mattis was unsure if a reduction of US forces in South Korea is on the agenda for discussion. While I doubt that Secretary Pompeo would have allowed it to be part of the structured discussion in the second meeting, given how the President operates it is one of the potential wild cards that could throw everyone for a loop.
  4. Despite stating otherwise on Friday before leaving for the G7 summit, the President will not be bringing up the DPRK’s human rights issues, so don’t expect that to be addressed in the read outs or the communique.
  5. It was reported last week that Kim’s envoy, Kim Yong Chol, pitched a development opportunity to the President when he met with him last week in the White House. Specifically a casino development project in the DPRK. If this is indeed an accurate report, then the Trump Doctrine, “I will be treated fairly or else”, is in play. (I’ll have more on the Trump Doctrine tomorrow in regard to Jeffrey Goldberg’s article in The Atlantic. The Bottom Line Up Front is that Goldberg has mistaken sloganeering for a strategic narrative.)
  6. Keep in mind that Kim has already gotten what he needed out of this summit. He’s meeting with the President of the United States; he got to go out on the town last night; a possible invite for a follow on summit in the US – either at the White House or Mar a Lago – has been floated by the President; rumored assurances of his regimes survival and significant economic aid. Up to this point Kim hasn’t had to do anything he wasn’t going to do anyway in exchange for all of this.
  7. Watch to see if the schedule is stuck to or if the initial bilateral meeting between the President and Kim runs late.

Stay frosty!

Open thread!



I’d Like Two Supreme Leader Combos, A Glorious Leader With Cheese And A Side Of Kimche, And Supersize the Soju!

The intelligence estimate of what Kim Jong Un is and is not willing to negotiate has leaked! NBC has the details:

A new U.S. intelligence assessment has concluded that North Korea does not intend to give up its nuclear weapons any time soon, three U.S. officials told NBC News — a finding that conflicts with recent statements by President Donald Trump that Pyongyang intends to do so in the future.

President Trump is continuing to pursue a nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un even though the CIA analysis, which is consistent with other expert opinion, casts doubt on the viability of Trump’s stated goal for the negotiations, the elimination of North Korea’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

“Everybody knows they are not going to denuclearize,” said one intelligence official who read the report, which was circulated earlier this month, days before Trump canceled the originally scheduled summit.

In an odd twist, a list of potential concessions by North Korea in the CIA analysis included the possibility that Kim Jong Un may consider offering to open a Western hamburger franchise in Pyongyang as a show of goodwill, according to three national security officials.

Does The Trump Doctrine of “I will be treated fairly or else” play a role in all this? Yes it does!

It suggests Kim is interested in a peaceful gesture to an American president whose love of fast-food burgers is well known — and who, during the 2016 campaign, had said he wanted to talk nukes over a burger with the North Korean leader.

And I’ll also need an Eternal President of the DPRK happy meal too!

Open thread.



Kim Jung Un Uses The Trump Doctrine To His Own Advantage

Early this morning, three Korean Americans who were being held prisoner in the DPRK landed at Joint Base Andrews and were greeted by the President.

Stop for a second. Reread the remarks that Frank Luntz is highlighting:

“We want to thank Kim Jong Un,” Trump said after emerging from the medical plane that transported the three prisoners, which he and his wife had boarded to greet the men. “We very much appreciate that he allowed them to go before the meeting. He was nice in letting them go before the meeting … That was a big thing, very important to me.”

That these three men were freed is a great thing. Because he’s president, and as would be the case with anyone who was at a time like this, some of the accolades for their release will and should accrue to the President regardless of what anyone thinks of him. But focus on the President’s remarks here one more time (emphasis mine):

We want to thank Kim Jong Un,” Trump said after emerging from the medical plane that transported the three prisoners, which he and his wife had boarded to greet the men. “We very much appreciate that he allowed them to go before the meeting. He was nice in letting them go before the meeting … That was a big thing, very important to me.

It is unclear from these remarks if the President realizes that these men were scarfed up and imprisoned at a forced labor camp to be used as bargaining chits. The first during the Obama administration and the latter two in 2017 on this President’s watch. These remarks are divorced from the reality of the situation. They ignore why the men were taken, why it was unacceptable, and why describing their release like this just reinforces that Kim has learned to appear to treat the President, and by extension the US, “fairly” to get what he wants. And to avoid the “or else” of the Trump Doctrine. While you don’t want to create a new international incident at 2:00 AM EDT if you can avoid it, the President’s remarks about these men’s release seem to ignore the reality of the actual situation and are equivalent to praising that nice Ted Bundy because he wanted to make sure young women didn’t have to walk home alone!

What the President doesn’t seem to grasp with these men’s release, or if he does, what he doesn’t seem to be able to communicate, is that the US had already granted Kim Jung Un his most important concessions. By browbeating and threatening President Moon and the ROK over trade imbalances and the President’s belief that the South Koreans are ripping off the US through our strategic alliance with them, the President made it much easier for President Moon to move on his own policy preferences, which were to directly and bilaterally negotiate with Kim. This gave Kim his first victory via concession. The second was in agreeing to meet with Kim. Such a meeting, long sought by Kim, as well as Kim’s father and grandfather, should have been a carrot held out as a reward for making significant, concrete positive movements rather than as an impulsive give away. Kim has now gotten what he wanted. President Moon is negotiating with him directly. The President is praising him publicly, which further helps Kim get out from being considered an international pariah. And the President is going to meet with him on June 12th in Singapore, which gives Kim his biggest concession: elevating his and the DPRK’s status on the international stage.

Kim has figured out, as has President Moon of the ROK, that the Trump Doctrine can be used against the President and the US. He’s basically weaponized appearing to treat the President, and by extension the US, “fairly” to both get what he wants and to avoid the “or else”. As a result, in less than six months we went from this:

To this:

Once Kim got what he wanted, a status elevating meeting with the President, he no longer needed these prisoners as bargaining chits. What remains to be seen is whether come June, Kim continues to leverage the Trump Doctrine to get the better of the President.

Stay frosty!

Open thread.



The Nobel Lie: The US Is Now Superfluous To The Future Of The Korean Peninsula

There’s been a lot of chatter over the past day or so about President Moon of the ROK stating that the President should get the Nobel Peace Prize. This isn’t exactly what President Moon said:

Leaving potential Nobel Peace prizes aside, what the President’s approach to foreign policy in general, and dealing with both the ROK and the DPRK in specific, has made the US superfluous to the process. I’ve read the joint statement from Kim and Moon a couple of times. While the language is nice and flowery and ambiguous, I think that section 2 and parts of section 3 are going to be what cause the US headaches. These sections read to me as the pretext for Kim to demand or require that 1) the Joint Multinational US-ROK annual military exercises stop and 2) the US drawdown its 28K personnel in the ROK as they will no longer be needed. This is in line with how Kim and the DPRK understands denuclearization, which always means getting the US off the peninsula, not that the DPRK necessarily gives up its nuclear weapons program, or, now, the fruits of its program.

I also think that aside from the meeting between Kim and the President, the US is now superfluous to the reality on the ground. And that Kim is manipulating the President into a diplomatic and strategic trap where Kim and the DPRK looks like the good guys here and the President, and by extension the US, look unreasonable and become the bad guys. This would also make Xi and the PRC, as well as Putin – another Kim patron – very, very happy.

Part of the problem is I don’t think the President or anyone on his team really seem to understand where President Moon is coming from. Moon is from the center-left/left of center party in the ROK that seeks an opening with the DPRK. His parents were also refugees from the DPRK to the ROK, so reaching a rapprochement that allows for families to be reunited is very important for him.

Moon clearly wants to reach a new normal on the Korean Peninsula. Kim, in the DPRK, wants what he’s always wanted:

  • the removal of the US, specifically of the US military, from the peninsula
  • the reunification of the peninsula
  • under Kim family control
  • preservation of the Kim family regime

When you hear or read Kim or other DPRK officials calling for denuclearization, part of what they mean is for the US to remove the nuclear umbrella that it provides to Japan and the ROK, if not the removal of the US military from the Korean Peninsula. Not giving up the DPRK’s nuclear deterrent. Sue Mi Terry, formerly a senior Korea analyst at the CIA, provides an explanation of what denuclearization means to Kim:

She said it’s significant that Kim spoke not of removing nuclear weapons from North Korea, but rather of the “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” as a whole. That formulation by the Kim government is “not new,” Terry told me, and has been accompanied in the past with demands for measures to preserve the regime’s security such as the signing of a peace treaty to finally end the Korean War, the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea, and the end of the U.S.-South Korean military alliance, which in turn would terminate the protection the United States extends to South Korea through its nuclear weapons. Hence, talk of a nuclear-free peninsula despite the fact that South Korea doesn’t have nuclear weapons. (In this respect, Kim was right to assert that he was simply echoing the policies of his father, who was also quoted by Chinese media as committing to the denuclearization of the peninsula even as he persisted in developing the nation’s nuclear-weapons arsenal.)

What Kim is talking about is not what the President or anyone on his team is talking about when they talk about denuclearization. Before US-DPRK negotiations have ever begun we have a fundamental mismatch of what the key term means. This will make negotiating more difficult if there is no agreement to what the key terms mean and key issues actually are. There is little doubt that President Moon knows exactly what Kim means when he talks about denuclearization. Moreover, President Moon is no doubt very clear about the President not wanting to keep US military personnel in the ROK. The President, per his longstanding belief dating back to 1987, sees this as a waste of money and another example of America’s allies and partners taking advantage of it and playing the US for suckers.

As NBC reported yesterday:

In one heated exchange between the two men before February’s Winter Olympics in South Korea, Kelly strongly — and successfully — dissuaded Trump from ordering the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula, according to two officials.

That the President wants the US troops out, as the “or else” portion of the Trump Doctrine, because he doesn’t believe the US is being treated fairly by the ROK in terms of trade, is not exactly a state secret.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday appeared to threaten to withdraw US troops from South Korea if he can’t get a better trade deal with Seoul.

In a fundraising speech in Missouri, Trump told donors South Korea had become rich but that American politicians never negotiated better deals, according to audio obtained by The Washington Post and confirmed to CNN by an attendee.

“We have a very big trade deficit with them, and we protect them,” Trump said. “We lose money on trade, and we lose money on the military.”

“We have right now 32,000 soldiers on the border between North and South Korea. Let’s see what happens,” Trump said.

The President went on to argue, “Our allies care about themselves. They don’t care about us.”

On Friday, South Korean Finance Minister, Kim Dong-yeon, appeared to hit back at Trump’s remarks.

“We don’t think it’s ideal to link an economic issue with such an issue [the withdrawal of US troops],” said Kim, while speaking on South Korean TBS radio.

“The South Korean government, with national interest of South Korea as priority, will consider striking a balance in the national economy and among multiple industries,” said Kim.

“We have many issues to take into consideration dealing with the United States as well.”

As the ROK’s finance minister’s response indicates, the South Koreans know exactly where they stand with the President. So it should not be surprising that President Moon is going to pursue the ROK’s interests and get the best deal he can get with Kim if there is a deal to be had regardless of what happens between the DPRK and the US. Moon has essentially recognized that there are two separate, though somewhat related, diplomatic tracks going on. The first he controls and is bilaterally between the ROK and the DPRK. The second involves the US, is sort of multilateral and at the same time sort of bilateral, and may or may not be anything more than a show.

From the perspective of the DPRK’s Kim, he’s already gotten what he wants from the US: agreement to the meeting. This elevates Kim and the DPRK from pariah status to worthy of direct negotiations with the US and the President. While the President and his team don’t seem to realize this, or if they do, acknowledge it publicly, this is a key concession from the US to the DPRK. And it was provided without Kim having to do much of anything.

Stay frosty!

Open thread.