Trump believes that North Korea no longer poses a threat, but we’ve been down this road before

Photo: CNA video screengrab
Photo: CNA video screengrab

US President Donald Trump declared victory following the historic summit held in Singapore with his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un.

Surprisingly, and perhaps naively, the president proclaimed that everyone can sleep well now that North Korea — a sensitive, impoverished nation with the capacity to launch nuclear weapons anytime — no longer poses a threat or a problem.

The tweets were the first few ones to go out since he returned to Washington after attending the summit here at Sentosa’s Capella Hotel. The landmark meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader ended quite strangely — the signing of an irresolute agreement, a propaganda video produced by the White House, and a long, meandering press conference filled with puzzling comments by Trump.

Though Trump’s comments about North Korea no longer posing a threat remains to be seen, what is clear is that the hermit kingdom emerged as a huge winner out of the summit. Kim gained legitimacy by being seen as a major player on the world stage and he got the US to cancel military exercises with South Korea — all without giving up anything major, as Vox pointed out.

“North Korea didn’t give up anything major in the joint statement after the summit. The language is incredibly soft, with North Korea not making any major concessions to the United States,” wrote Vox’s It’s considerably weaker, in fact, than what previous presidents had gotten during multilateral negotiations with the North.”

Also, you have to remember that North Korea has repeatedly pledged to abandon its nuclear efforts six times across the past couple of decades. All of them have been lies.

On top of that, Trump’s post-summit compliments and commendations of Kim (a power-hungry, brutal despot) and the dismissal of North Korea’s appalling human rights record is really more of a victory for the other side. For those trying to cling on to any silver lining available, however, the historic summit could be seen as a symbolic US-led step to pave the way to actual denuclearisation in the Korean peninsula.

But don’t be critical about the summit unless you want Trump to call you “fake news”.

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