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Washington pundits warn against optimism about Singapore meeting

Washington pundits warn against optimism about Singapore meeting

Posted May. 29, 2018 07:41,   

Updated May. 29, 2018 07:41

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With the preparation for the summit between the United States and North Korea making progress, pundits in Washington are warning against premature optimism over the scheduled meeting with Pyongyang. In an interview with CBS news on Sunday, Republican Senator Marco Rubio said Kim Jong Un is “psychologically attached” to nuclear weapons, as they have given him the privileges and importance that he is enjoying now, adding that it would be very difficult for him to give it up.

In a Sunday interview with CNN, James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, called the recent moves from Pyongyang “typical North Korean” way of taking two steps forward, and one step back, adding, “In some ways, Kim Jong Un may have met his match here with our very unconventional president.” He explained while it is worth trying establishing relationships with smiles and handshakes, it is worrying that the concept of “denuclearization” might be construed by the North as cutting the size of America’s strategic assets in the Pacific Ocean.

In his Fox News interview, former CIA Director Mike Hayden said he is unsure if President Trump has “done the homework needed” for negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear program. He added that North Korea is not going to get rid of all their nuclear weapons, saying demanding denuclearization at the talks will lead to “a very bad place” for the Trump administration.

In an interview with the Voice of America, former USFK Commander Burwell B. Bell said signing a peace treaty with North Korea for withdrawal of U.S. forces in South Korea is like signing a death penalty document for South Korea. Bell warned that given that the North Korean forces are standing close guard at the inter-Korean border, North Korea will launch an immediate military attack and occupy South Korea once the U.S. forces leave the peninsula.


Taek Kyoon Sohn sohn@donga.com