Photo: William Moon

A historic prospect of peace talks with North Korea is a new reality that is successfully diverting the news cycle from the Stormy Daniels scandal. 

While everyone in the press corps thought that the trade tariffs will be the biggest policy news of this week, American President Donal Trump made an impromptu appearance in the briefing room to tell the journalists that the historic announcement regarding the talks with North Korea will be made.

The Press Secretary put out a statement as follows: The President “greatly appreciates the nice words of the South Korean delegation and President Moon.  He will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong-un at a place and time to be determined. We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea.  In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.”

How did we arrive to the peace talks with North Korea?

According to the White House Offical, when President Trump came into office in January of last year, he “determined on day one that the urgent matter of denuclearizing North Korea was something that would require a new approach”.  The White House insists that such approach “would require us avoiding the mistakes that have been made over the past 27 years of dialogue and failed approaches to denuclearizing North Korea.”

Within a matter of weeks, the White House official explained, the administration had developed a policy that the President signed to “maximize pressure on North Korea”.  The economic pressure was not a new measure and was evident in a series of sanctions against North Korea. North Korea was isolated diplomatically, and according to the WH official was ” marshaling not only our resources, not only the resources of our allies and friends but really of the entire world to resolve something that is destabilizing to the region and really to the world at large.”

Dialogue at the right time?

The White Offical said that while the sanctions against North Korea were ongoing, the US left the door open to the dialogue that could lead to peace talks with North Korea. President Trump was briefed by President Moon’s — a couple of national security officials — his National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong and his Intelligence Director Suh Hoon — who came into the Oval, gave a briefing to the President, as well as several Cabinet officials — General McMaster, Secretary Mattis, Deputy Secretary of State Sullivan, Chief of Staff General Kelly, Director Dan Coats, and CIA Deputy Director Gina Haskell — and explained the — and conveyed a message from Kim Jong-un to the President.

It has been confirmed that President Trump was briefed by President Moon’s — a couple of national security officials — his National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong and his Intelligence Director Suh Hoon — who came into the Oval, gave a briefing to the President, as well as several Cabinet officials — General McMaster, Secretary Mattis, Deputy Secretary of State Sullivan, Chief of Staff General Kelly, Director Dan Coats, and CIA Deputy Director Gina Haskell — and explained the — and conveyed a message from Kim Jong-un to the President.

Peace talks with North Korea and a commitment to denuclearize

According to the White House Offical Kim Jong-un had made clear that he “understands that routine defensive exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue — or something that will continue.  And he conveyed that he wants to meet with President Trump as quickly as possible.”

President Trump has agreed to accept an invitation to meet with Kim Jong-un in a matter of a couple of months. The time and place of the face-to-face meeting is still to be determined, but Trump has accepted an invitation.

White House Offical: “President’s point that he made tonight, in the statement through Sarah, that sanctions and maximum pressure must remain, is really what differentiates the President’s policy from the policies of the past.  If we look at the history of these negotiations that took place under prior administrations, they have often led to the relinquishing of pressure.  They have often led to concessions being made to North Korea in return for talks.”

There was no letter

The Senior White House has confirmed that there was no letter sent to the US president and that message was conveyed orally by Kim Jong-un to the National Security Advisor of South Korea during the several hours of meetings that they held just a couple days ago in Pyongyang.  Ambassador Chung, who is the National Security Advisor, then conveyed it orally to the President on March 8, 2018, in the Oval Office.

The White House Offical: “At this point we’re not even talking about negotiations. Obviously, verification goes hand in hand with any kind of acceptable deal for the permanent denuclearization of North Korea, and we will settle for nothing less than that outcome.”

Why not start with meetings at a lower level?  

There’s never been a face-to-face meeting or even phone call, between sitting leaders of the two countries.  One of the questions that came up during the briefing was why the meetings did not start at a lower level?

Senior White House Offical said that  President Trump was “elected in part because he is willing to do — take approaches very, very different from past approaches and past Presidents. That couldn’t be better exemplified than it is in his North Korea policy.  Literally, going back to 1992, the United States has engaged in direct talks at low levels with the North Koreans, and I think that history speaks for itself. ”

The White House used this opportunity to make a point President Trump made his reputation on
“making deals”.

There is clearly something in Trump’s personality that appeals to the North Korean dictator and in fact, the White House Offical did not shy from making an odd, authoritarian analogy in decision-making by stating that “Kim Jong-un is the one person who is able to make decisions under their authoritarian — uniquely authoritarian — or totalitarian system.  And so it made sense to accept an invitation to meet with the one person who can actually make decisions instead of repeating the sort of, long slog of the past.”

The President has been coordinating closely with South Korea as well as with Japan.

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