Take action to denuclearizeU.S. President Donald Trump decided to not send Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang — which would have been Pompeo’s fourth visit to the North Korean capital — questioning the fruitfulness in the trip. Just a day after the announcement of the visit, Trump said he told Pompeo not to go to Pyongyang “because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Trump’s warning comes amid little progress in the denuclearization front after hopes had been raised through the April 27 inter-Korean summit and the June 12 meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Pyongyang was asked to hand over details regarding its nuclear program and facilities and to take actions to eliminate them. Instead, it feigned the actions by dismantling an unused nuclear test site and some parts of a missile test site. Foreign media reported that Pyongyang was continuing to make nuclear weapons and enriching nuclear materials for weaponization. Beijing is worsening matters. Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Pyongyang to attend an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean regime. Trump accused Beijing of being “irresponsible” because it wasn’t “helping with the process of denuclearization” like before.
Seoul appears to be unconcerned with North Korea’s slow progress on the denuclearization front. It is trying to push the opening of a liaison office in Kaesong and hold another inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang next month. Washington opposes the establishment of an inter-Korean liaison office because it violates the United Nations sanctions. President Moon Jae-in’s hopes to announce a declaration of the end of the Korean War, but this could also undermine the South Korea-U.S. security pact. Many in the U.S. advise against a declaration to end the war before North Korea takes action towards denuclearization. The South must adjust its pace vis-à-vis the North in accordance with the international trend. It should reconsider whether a summit and declaration to end the war is appropriate at this time.
JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 27, Page 30