Out of Ideas, Leftist South Korean President Floats Another Trump-Kim Summit

In this handout image provided by the South Korean Presidential Blue House, South Korean President Moon Jae-in attends the meeting regarding the Japan's decision to remove South Korea from a "whitelist" of favoured export partners at Presidential Blue House on August 02, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea. Japan approved a …
South Korean Presidential Blue House via Getty Images

Leftist South Korean President Moon Jae-in is urging President Donald Trump to hold a third summit with North Korean President Kim Jong-un before the U.S. presidential election in November, South Korean media outlets reported on Thursday.

Seoul’s bid to involve Trump in its rapidly deteriorating relationship with Pyongyang follows one of the most dramatically unsuccessful months of attempted diplomacy between the two Koreas in recent history, ending with the spectacular images of North Korea bombing the Korean “joint liaison office” the countries used for diplomatic meetings.

Trump is the first president to meet with an incumbent North Korean dictator since the beginning of the 70-year-old Korean War. He has met Kim twice – once in Singapore in 2018 and once in Hanoi, Vietnam. The first summit resulted in a vaguely worded joint statement; Trump walked out of the second abruptly, claiming the North Koreans had no interest in making a deal.

North Korea is currently under the strictest international sanctions regime in modern history. While reportedly continuing to pursue nuclear weapons development, Pyongyang has not tested a nuclear bomb since 2017.

South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo reported that Moon floated the idea in a video summit with European Union leaders on Tuesday, vaguely hinting at “dialogue between North Korea and the United States ahead of the U.S. presidential election.” Unnamed officials at the Cheong Wa Dae (Blue House), Seoul’s presidential offices, later told reporters that Moon is specifically seeking a summit between the two world leaders, not merely high-level diplomat meetings.

The South Korean newswire agency Yonhap reported similarly that Blue House officials are trying to convince Washington to organize a third summit.

“The U.S. side understands (Moon’s position), and it’s currently making efforts (for that), as far as I know,” an anonymous Blue House official said, according to Yonhap, adding that Seoul and Washington are in “close communication.”

Yonhap noted, however, that Washington officials have not made any indication that they are organizing efforts to have the president meet Kim Jong-un. Top Korean peninsula diplomat Stephen Biegun, who serves as deputy Secretary of State, called such a meeting before the November elections “probably unlikely” this week.

Another top official, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, did say in remarks this week that the “door to dialogue and progress remains open,” but did not specify the form of that dialogue.

“We continue to call on North Korea to avoid provocations, abide by obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions and return to sustained and substantive negotiations,” O’Brien said, adding that the United States was “committed” to the promises that Trump and Kim signed during the Singapore summit in 2018.

Trump and Kim managed to sign a document, the Singapore Declaration, in part because the commitments written in it were poorly defined, making it possible for both sides to interpret them as they wished. The declaration required, for example, that both sides “join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula” – without specifying any efforts – and stated that North Korea must work to enact “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Biegun admitted a year later that North Korea and America do not agree on a “specific” definition of what “complete denuclearization” means. Pyongyang insists that it means the full withdrawal of American troops but the continued existence of the illegal North Korean nuclear weapons program.

The second Trump-Kim summit ended with no deal, as Trump walked out halfway through, insisting that America could not lead a roll back of international sanctions if North Korea did not agree to end the nuclear program the sanctions were punishing.

Moon’s call for a third summit comes at a time of crisis in South Korea’s diplomacy, fueled by Moon himself insisting on a left-wing policy of ceding to irrational North Korean demands. In mid-June, North Korea abruptly began publishing personally insulting columns in its state media against Moon and threatening the restoration of military hostilities against the “human scum” members of South Korean humanitarian aid groups, who regularly send food aid and leaflets with banned outside news into North Korea. Moon attempted to appease Pyongyang by using law enforcement to harass the leaflet distributors, many of them North Korean refugees, and North Korea responded by bombing the North-South joint liaison office in Kaesong, on the North side of the border. Moon’s Unification Minister, in charge of North-South relations, resigned.

North Korean state media has since threatened a “sensational event” to end the existence of the United States.

On Wednesday, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s state “news” service, published a story accusing all of American society of “extreme misanthropy and racism.”

“In the U.S. the black people are regarded as ‘inferior race’ and becoming the targets of contempt, rejection and oppression for the only reason that they have different skin color,” KCNA asserted, echoing the talking points of the Black Lives Matter left-wing advocacy organization. “Under the patronage of the U.S. legal system based on so-called ‘impartiality’ and ‘justice,’ white policemen’s firing at black people has become an almost daily occurrence and 99 percent of the police killers have gone scot-free.”

KCNA does not offer a source for that statistic.

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