President Donald Trump walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
It was nearly predictable that once the Trump-Kim summit was over that the North Koreans would spin the story to be as favorable as possible. There is a story in the Wall Street Journal today that basically says, according to North Korean media, that Trump gave away the farm :
North Korea said Wednesday that President Donald Trump had told Kim Jong Un that he intended to halt U.S.-South Korea military exercises and lift sanctions against the North, suggesting through its state media that Mr. Trump had explicitly acceded to two longstanding North Korean demands during bilateral talks at their summit meeting a day earlier.
The report put a distinctly North Korean spin on the summit meeting between the two leaders, the first between a sitting U.S. president and a leader of North Korea. The report quoted Mr. Kim as saying that, if the U.S. were to take “genuine measures for building trust,” then the North could reciprocate in a “commensurate” fashion—a clear suggestion that U.S. concessions would have to come before any North Korean move.
The report also suggested that Mr. Trump had adopted the North’s preferred phased approach toward any denuclearization process, saying the two men had agreed to the “principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action.”
The North Korean report emphasized the equal standing of the two countries, describing the positioning of the two countries’ flags. It also said that the two men were able to enjoy “deepening friendly feelings” during a short stroll together.
None of this is terribly unsurprising. Kim’s performance in Singapore was going to be lauded by the same media that claim he was able to drive at age 3, won a yacht race at age 9, and shot a 38-under-par 34 in his first golf game . Kim is literally considered to be a deity and anything less than total success would be an affront to his divinity. Plus, Kim may be an autocrat but there is obviously unrest within the small group of families that have ruled North Korea as retainers to the Kim family since the 1950s. Just a week ago, several senior officers were suddenly replaced. By establishing the predicate of having gotten everything he demanded in Singapore, Kim has the political maneuver room to make concessions and not lose face…assuming that he is negotiating in good faith.
More to the point, there is no evidence that any of this happened.
On the subject of sanctions:
. @POTUS on North Korea: "The sanctions will come off when we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor." pic.twitter.com/RHmMPOnq4s
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) June 13, 2018
. @SecPompeo : “Sanctions will remain until North Korea completely and verifiably eliminates its weapons of mass destruction programs.” pic.twitter.com/PoOOFl8x5l