Apologies for the note of cynicism, but at the press conference held shortly after President Trump signed a piece of paper proclaiming, “a message of peace,” I couldn’t help but be reminded of another piece of paper and message.
After meeting with Adolph Hitler, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain arrived back in England on September 30, 1938 and proclaimed:
“This morning, I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler. And here is the paper which bears his name upon it, as well as mine:
‘We, the German Fuhrer and Chancellor, and the British Prime Minister have had a further meeting today and are agreed in recognizing that the question of the Anglo-German relations is of the first importance for the two countries and for Europe. We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval agreement as symbolic as of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.’ ”
One year later, Hitler invaded Poland.
Similar in tone and language, Trump said, “Chairman Kim and I just signed a joint statement which he reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
The “Joint Statement,” (not an agreement), reads as follows:
“President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
“President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
“Convinced that the establishment of new US-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:
“The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
“The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
“Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
“The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
“Having acknowledged that the US-DPRK summit — the first in history — was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in the joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations, led by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the US-DPRK summit.
“President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new US-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and the security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.”
During the press conference, Trump admits to several points that undercut his efforts.
“Chairman Kim says North Korea is also destroying a major missile engine testing site. That’s not in your signed document. We agreed to that after the agreement was signed. That’s a big thing. The missiles they were testing. The site will be destroyed very soon.”
If it’s such a “big thing,” why wasn’t it included in the “Joint Statement”?
Trump keeps referring to it as an “agreement.” It’s not. At the top of the page, it clearly reads: “Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit.”
The press conference revealed more.
Q: …on the security assurances…. Can you be specific of the assurances you are willing to give to Kim Jong Un? Does that include reducing military operations?
Trump: We have 32,000 soldiers in South Korea. I would like to be able to bring them back home. That’s not part of the equation. At some point, I hope it would be. We will stop the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money. Unless and until we see the future negotiations is not going along like it should. We will be saving a tremendous amount of money. Plus. It is very provocative.
(The New York Times reports (June 12), “…a United States military spokeswoman in South Korea, said in an email that the American command there ‘has received no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises…’ “)
Q: Mr. President, the joint statement does not talk about verifiable or irreversible denuclearization. Is that a concession on the part of the United States?
Trump: No, not at all. If you look at it, it said we are — let’s see here. It will be gone. I don’t think you can be any more plain. Issues of the establishment of the DPRK relations-building. We talk about the guarantees and we talk about unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This is the document that we just signed.
(They may have talked about it, but those conditions were not part of the “Joint Statement.”)
Q: Did you discuss with Chairman Kim methods to verify with the United States or international organizations that process?
Trump: Yes, we did. It will be verified. We will be verifying.
(Not in the Joint Statement.)
Q: How will that be achieved?
Trump: It will be achieved by having a lot of people there. As we develop a certain trust. We think we have done that. Secretary Pompeo has been really doing a fantastic job. His staff and everybody. As we do that, we will have a lot of people there and working with them. This is complete denuclearization of North Korea’s — it will be verified.
(Not in the Joint Statement.)
Q: Will they be Americans or agency people?
Trump: Combinations of both. We have talked about it.
(Not in the Joint Statement.)
What makes Trump so confident about his relationship with Kim, a dictator who has murdered his own family members?
“We have developed a very special bond,” Trump assured the press.
Whew, for a minute there, I thought we were in trouble.