editorial.6.15.18


The meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un on Tuesday in Singapore was the first time a sitting U.S. president met in person with a North Korean leader.

Just a month ago, the two leaders were throwing nuclear war threats against each other that could kill around 30 million people.

Veteran observers of summit meetings have conflicting observations.

There are more negative verdicts, though, than positive, including from a senior member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Nicholas Kristof, influential op-ed political and Pulitzer winner columnist for The New York Times, said he supported engaging dictators.

But, at the same time, he said “diplomacy means being respectful; it does not mean lavishing praise on dictators, adopting their propaganda, and saying how much they love the people they oppress.”

Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University in Seoul and a well-respected expert on North Korea, offered one of the most unfavorable comments.

He said, “We expected it would be a flop, but it’s floppier than anything we expected. The [post-summit] declaration is pretty much meaningless.”

New Jersey’s Sen. Robert Menendez criticized the after-summit joint statement, calling it “anemic” with “very little substance on anything.”

“This is the most anemic communiqué that has ever come out of a U.S.-North Korea engagement. Very little substance on anything,” the top Democrat in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in an interview on CNN.

Despite all of the above negative criticisms, and the absence of a definite commitment for denuclearization from North Korea, the summit postponed the occurrence of nuclear war that could have killed millions and brought untold destructions to property and the environment, including the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia.

Hopefully, the recent summit will be the beginning of Kim Jong Un’s awakening that his country could not continue to live in seclusion from the rest of the international community.

And that democracy and the United States matter, and that he should not continue to adopt a war-like attitude because nuclear war means “mutually assured destruction” or MAD.