“Trump Meets with North Korean Leader”

Abby Black, Staff Writer

On June 12, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Singapore to discuss denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula to reduce the threat of nuclear war.

President Trump and Leader Kim Jong-Un are the first sitting U.S. President and North Korean leader to meet.  The two countries have had tension between them since the Korean War.  Kim Jong-Un claims that he attended this meeting to ease the decades-long tension.  President Trump planned to talk about the North Korean nuclear testing that had begun to upset other countries.  Kim Jong-Un reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearization if the U.S. would stop war games with South Korea.  President Trump agreed to this and said, “We will be stopping war games with South Korea which will save us a tremendous amount of money.  It is very provocative.”

The meeting seemed to go well and ended on a good note.  Kim agreed to begin the process of denuclearization and President Trump agreed to maintain peace with North Korea.  Kim said, “The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved — if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill — create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace.”  However, two months after the meeting, North Korea had not changed.  Kim rejected the formal timeline given to him. The timeline was to give up North Korea’s nuclear weapons.  This would require Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, to hand over 60-70% of nuclear warheads within six to eight months to the U.S.  It is said that the U.S. would offer North Korea something if met, but it was unknown what they would offer.

Pyongyang started to grow impatient with the U.S. after Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, went to North Korea for the third time in July for denuclearization.  On August 9, 2018, North Korea warned that the U.S.’s push for full sanctions would stall denuclearization.  The U.S. is also getting impatient with North Korea because they have canceled follow-up meetings and have not dismantled a testing facility that Trump wants destroyed.

Denuclearization is a large step for North Korea because they do not have much more protection.  They are a small country that is not very well liked by larger countries, and this leaves them vulnerable without the nuclear weapons. Denuclearization to Americans means that Kim will give up all nuclear weapons to the U.S.  Denuclearization to North Koreans means mutual steps to get rid of nuclear weapons.  This difference is huge and can cause much confusion and more tension.  Kim also requests that the U.S. withdraw their military from South Korea.  They view it as a hostile act to bring North Korea down.

Denuclearization is something that can take years.  The United States needs to realize that this is a big step for North Korea.  The U.S. and North Korea need to work on denuclearization together if they want to maintain a lasting peace.