U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday he is looking forward to meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who realizes so well that North Korea possesses great economic potential, citing a media report that Kim said he will not make or test nuclear weapons, or give them to others and is ready to meet President Trump anytime. But the U.S. president did not mention that Kim said he would seek a new path, demanding sanctions relief on North Korea.
President Trump responded to Kim’s message, reaffirming his will to hold the second U.S.-North Korean summit. But it would not be easy to break the U.S.-North Korea stalemate as the two countries are turning a blind eye to each other’s key demands. Trump did not bring up the issue of sanctions relief and only mentioned economic potential of North Korea, indirectly demanding that North Korea should take measures toward denuclearization first. The North Korean leader reaffirmed his commitment to “complete denuclearization” but did not mention anything about plans to abolish nuclear weapons.
It seems President Trump is seeking to manage the situation without worsening the relations with North Korea. In a video message uploaded earlier, Trump said the U.S. is doing well and he is in no rush. The U.S. State Department declined the “opportunity to comment” on Kim’s New Year's address. It appears the U.S. is trying to test its patience for the time being. North Korea has been demanding that the two countries should hold a summit without having working-level talks since it called off the meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong Chol in New York in November last year.
If this tug of war between Washington and Pyongyang leads to an unexpected turn of event, the Korean Peninsula can fall into a crisis once again. North Korea has already hinted at breaking away from the denuclearization path and is seeking to have disarmament negotiations with the U.S. as a nuclear state. Moreover, it is trying to drive a wedge between South Korea and the U.S., demanding the suspension of joint military exercises between the two countries. To be sure, the U.S. would not sit back and do nothing about the situation but it should actively seek ways to denuclearize North Korea. The time is neither on the U.S.'s nor North Korea’s side.