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Member since: Sat Mar 14, 2009, 08:45 PM
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The illusion of the Hanoi summit

Stephen Biegun has the temerity to say, that he cannot trust Kim Hyuk Chol, who refused to respond to demands that North Korea give up all of it's nuclear weapons, resources and facilities, as if this was something that was in the cards or on the agenda for the Hanoi summit. To get Kim to the summit Biegun implied there was wiggle room or flexibility in the US approach to negotiations and that not everything need be achieved at once. Yet once at the summit, US demands included everything, in an all or nothing approach, that exceeded the parameters of the Singapore summit, with no offers of any sanctions relief of any kind for interim measures. For example, the US demanded that all weapons of mass destruction, (a pet phrase of the neo-con proponents of interminable middle east wars) including chemical and biological weapons, as part of the US demands that would require fulfillment in addition to the so called hek list or inventory of all nuclear weapons, enrichment facilities, missile sites, production facilities and so on. It was this all or nothing approach that previously caused the talks to falter last summer after the Singapore summit, when Pompeo made similar demands in Pyongyang and Kim Jong Un refused to meet with him or other US representatives for months.

Moon Chung In, the unofficial advisor and spokesperson for the Moon administration has to maintain an optimistic attitude as does the National Security Advisor, because the Moon Jae In administration in South Korea committed itself to this course politically, regardless of how incompetent or offensive US policy is toward North Korea.

While the Blue House is not taking Choi's statements as an accurate indicator of no possibility of further negotiations, that possibility hangs by unlikely threads. The first according to Moon Chung In is that the US needs to demonstrate flexibility toward North Korea and toward South Korean economic overtures such as Kumgansang and Kaseong. Otherwise South Korea has no leverage. The US has stated repeatedly that isn't going to happen. In fact sanctions are closing on North Korea, and foreign revenues are drying up and food is in scarce supply. Humanitarian efforts such as the public health anti TB efforts in North Korea are even being shut down. Discussion of more sanctions is counterproductive according to Moon, but everyday, we hear Bolton and a coterie of demagogues in the Congress either initiating or threatening more sanctions on a daily basis. This is little more than a regime change policy.

Secondly, Moon says the smallest disputes now can result in disaster. Yet the largest dispute has already happened and shows no prospect of compromise possible on the US side.

This fundamental difference which is well understood by long term observers of the negotiations between the US "one bundle" or Libyan approach, and a simultaneously reciprocal step by step, phased trust building approach, favored by North Korea, has been the obstacle to negotiations all along. A retreat was required from the US all or nothing approach after Singapore which Stephen Biegun played out in working level talks, as evidenced by his presentation at Stanford before the Hanoi summit could even occur. Once, the North Koreans committed to meet at Hanoi, the US went back to the old playbook of all or nothing, give up everything in return for vague promises of future benefits and no sanctions relief of any kind in the interim. No one who knows anything about North Korea could have seriously thought this would work.

It was a duplicitous approach for a US administration which cannot stand up to domestic criticism of its North Korean initiatives by the intelligence establishment, the neo-cons, the press, the opposition, and the military industrial complex of think tanks, and Congressional defense industry flunkies. One can be assured of one thing in US East Asian policy in a conflict situation- when there is a bipartisan consensus in the US on what US policy should be, it is invariably based upon grandiose illusions. Such policies typically have the disastrous consequences we know so well- the so called loss of China, the "loss" of the first Korean conflict which resulted in war with China and an armistice rather than the expected military victory, the disaster in Vietnam, and finally this, the development of North Korea as a nuclear power.

Missile base activity in North Korea

(Source- Channel A News Top Ten, 3.7) North Korea- US: threat and pressure relationship.

The Tongchang Ri missile launch site, also referred to as the Sohae Satellite launch site, is the one where the recent construction has been reported, basically restoration of the facility to its prior condition. That is the northern most site in this Channel A News graphic.

Increased activity, noted as movement of materials by trucks, considered missile related by South Korean intelligence at a second site was reported in this Channel A News Top Ten program. That site is the Sanumdong missile general research complex 112 km to the southeast of Tongchang Ri. This site is considered significant because it is a place where ICBMs, like the Hwasong 15, are assembled and produced.

The recent activities at both sites are regarded as provocative and unwise by South Korean analysts but also as presenting an indirect, implicit threat of futher development of ICBM capability after the disappointing outcome of the Hanoi summit.

Here's a Time article on the subject:


(Source- Channel A News Top Ten, 3.7)

North Korean media, Chosun Sinbo, indicated that North Korea wishes to reengage in negotiations and expresses that by exhorting the US to taking the first steps with simultaneous action in a trust building process that can lead to denuclearization. Title of the commentary was "Corresponding measures to the dismantling of the Yongbyun nuclear facility are the basis of trust." And the statement as reported in the Channel A News broadcast was "Trump, if you do not want to miss the opportunity for denuclearization and avoid damage to your standing, before North Korea seeks a new path, decide to engage in simultaneous action, as a first step, in the process that must go forward to prepare to make it a reality."

It's not clear if the relative dangers of this approach have been accurately weighed by the North Koreans. Some conservative analysts regard it as a bluff for lack of a more nuanced characterization. The danger is that what is clearly implied that a loss of face is involved not for the US, but rather that Kim had already experienced a loss of face in Hanoi by the way the talks were carried out, and that most Korean analysts regard him as having been humiliated as much as he had tried to conceal that.

In the proposed course of action is the referenence to "another path" that Kim had mentioned in his new year's address. As noted around the time of the new year's speech there is a hint of reluctance by Kim to find this other path, but here it is again. The Channel A News analysts suggest this is linked to Trump's statement that Kim Jong Un had promised not to engage in missile flights or nuclear tests despite the lack of a written agreement or communique from the Hanoi summit, while indications on the ground suggest potentially that he might. The Chosun Sinbo statement suggests that they are reluctant to go ahead with such an threat. Channel A News Top Ten analysts referred to the situation as a pscyhological war.

US- South Korean Differences after Hanoi

(Source- Channel A News Top Ten, 3.7) Jong Se Hyun- "Ill fated Bolton villain." "Bolton's participation in the summit dialogue signaled its collapse. He is (an unwanted) ill fated person. The thought of an Indian killing white cavalry general comes to mind."

Jong Se Hyun criticized John Bolton's critical "no deal" role at the summit talks in Hanoi. Jong, the former Unification Minister of South Korea, described Bolton as an ill fated person, and likened him to a white cavalry general who kills "Indians." There is a minor media tempest on the right about his remarks criticizing Bolton's performance at the summit. Channel A analysts criticized Jong's remarks as undiplomatic and going too far. Jong maintained that Bolton deliberately killed the talks if the analogy with a General Custer like description wasn't clear enough. This pretty much comports with Tae Yong Ho's analysis a few days ago, except that Tae, the the North Korean diplmatic defector and darling of the right in South Korea, regarded the failure of the talks as a good outcome. So did a couple of the Top Ten analysts who are also conservative. One maintained that a successful "small deal" involving dismantlement of Yongbyun facilities in return for sanctions waivers for reopening of the South Korean resort in Kumgansan North Korea would be untenable or difficult for South Korea in some way had it been an agreed outcome at Hanoi. It's not clear what that difficulty would be.

(Source- Channel A News Top Ten, 3.7) 5. Trump-Moon split- trouble? Lessen North Korean sanctions- ROK-US out of step? Bolton- I'm looking for ways to strengthen sanctions against North Korea. (March 5) Moon- Advance the speed of North South cooperative enterprises. (March 4.)

There was some discussion of President Moon Jae In's reaction and response at a ROK Security Council meeting called after the Hanoi Summit. Moon asked the administration leadership to find the best ways to promote plans for economic cooperation with North Korea in the context of the framework of UN economic sanctions. The discussion by conservative analysts emphasized that Moon is out of step with the US policy, and the program quoted Bolton as looking for new ways to impose further sanctions on North Korea. Given that Moon wants to press ahead with South Korean policy objectives with North Korea, the analysts questioned whether Moon could function as an effective mediator between the US and North Korea any longer. They quoted from a Bloomberg source dated March 4, (which I've been unable to locate) that observed that US and South Korean policies with respect to North Korea were going separate ways. This was contrary to the view expressed by Jong Se Hyun, that there can't be any other path but to have Moon continue to press on with his role as facilitator of continued progress in negotiations as he is the party that understands the postures and positions of both the US and North Korea. This perspective was shared also on JTBC News yesterday in an interview by Moon Chung In, an independent advisor on national security to the Blue House. Their idea is that President Moon is the best suited individual to help close the gap between the parties.

(Source- Channel A News Top Ten, 3.7) Strange signal detected between the US and South Korea? February 23 (security advisers) meeting cancelled. Bolton- I have a "big deal" document to present to the North. Jong Eui Yong- Small deal, a big deal concept won't work.

Another part of the program noted that Bolton had planned to meet the National Security Advisor of South Korea, Jong Eui Yong, on February 23 before the Hanoi summit. The Korean National Security Advisor, apparently had an apprehension of Bolton's so called "big deal" written proposal with which he differed and the meeting was canceled. US press reports had merely reported that Bolton didn't go because he had more pressing matters in Venezuela to attend to. This fundamental difference in his views from those of the South Korean administration weren't disclosed. It's hardly conceivable that his presence would be welcomed in Seoul.

Thae Yong Ho Says Secret Uranium Enrichment Facility Deal Breaker in Hanoi

(Source- TV Chosun 03.2) US North Korea dispute going forward- are there or are there not other nuclear facilities in North Korea?

According to Thae Yong Ho, former DPRK diplomat and high level defector to South Korea, US National Security Adviser, John Bolton embarrassed Kim Jong Un by raising the so called secret nuclear facility issue directly with Kim Jong Un at the summit. Kim's apparent confusion at how to respond to the question resulted in in the DPRK Foreign Minster, Ri Yong Ho, sitting next to Kim stopping the talks. That's where the talks ended according to Thae's analysis. There are statements from the press interview of Choi Son Hui, from the DPRK, and also Donald Trump that indicated there may be something to this.

Kim could have been surprised for a couple of other reasons. Maybe this issue wasn't on the agenda for instance in the "small deal," scenario and wasn't addressed by the working level representatives. Or the facility or facilities don't exist. Thae suggests Kim is lying.

Choi Son Hui the veteran nuclear negotiator, said it was her feeling that Kim didn't understand the US calculating method in making additional demands.

Thae made some remark on the extended interview on Channel A News that the CIA probably would have cheered during the gotcha John Bolton moment or words to the effect. He made essentially the same comment in the podcast above from TV Chosun from which the still shot is taken. Other analysts felt that the issue in contention was likely related to the so called Kangson secret uranium enrichment site in the news last summer after the first summit. This is the link from the Diplomat.com:


A lot of the public information about the suspected enrichment site in Chollima, North Korea, is based upon analysis provided by Jeffrey Lewis. Lewis almost always qualifies his analysis with appropriate caveats, as one should in intelligence work:

“What we feel comfortable saying is that we can’t say whether it is, or is not, an enrichment plant,” Lewis noted. But, “this is a suitable building that has a number of signatures consistent with that and no obvious inconsistencies,” he continued. Whatever the purpose of the site, Lewis continued, this facility at Kangson was “clearly a sensitive national defense site.”

Gareth Porter deconstructed the multiple secret enrichment plant stories in an article published in 38North.org* : How the Media Wove a Narrative of North Korean Nuclear Deception.


With respect to the alleged nuclear enrichment facility at Kangson, Michael Madden authored a critical analysis, also at 38North.org, debunking unqualified allegations about Kangson in popular media reports:

However, while the intelligence community has been monitoring this site for more than a decade, its actual function is still in question. It does have some of the characteristics of a site for production of weapons grade material, but a variety of contextual factors, especially the location, suggest it has been built and is being used for some other purpose.


In a final irony, on March 1, Jeffrey Lewis published an opinion piece at NPR.com titled Trump Just Walked Away From The Best North Korea Deal He'll Ever Get.


Lewis doesn't seem as convinced as Bolton and the other neocons that this should have been a deal breaker. This brings to mind Stephen Biegun's comments about intelligence information and policy in his presentation at Stanford not too long ago before the summit in which he said:

But we also have to understand what intelligence information is. Intelligence information is data and information combined with analysis that’s given to policymakers, and if you take it out of context, you – if you divorce it from policy, then you have a very incomplete picture, and this is really where my frustration is with the story that played out last week....

...So my frustration isn’t with the accuracy of the information. It’s how it’s presented and how it’s interpreted. You cannot divorce the intelligence information from policy. The intelligence information is critical as an underpinning for the policy, but the policy is to address the threat and that’s what my frustration was last week.

So one has to question the strategy of using a summit on the critical issue of denuclearization to test whether your intelligence theory about multiple alternative nuclear complexes is true or not. Thae suggests it is true from Kim's ambiguous response. It's much more likely that sandbagging the negotiating process was the policy objective of Bolton and Pompeo. Widening the agenda at the last minute to raise issues, such as a comprehensive inventory of nuclear weapons facilities, warheads, and "weapons of mass destruction" the old Bush administration cassus belli, that had not been discussed or agreed upon by Beigun's working group and their DPRK counterparts, was a sure method to derail negotiations, as, Bolton, the "bureaucratic insider," well knew. Trump, Bolton and Pompeo killed the small deal concept, threw Biegun under the bus, and went back to the Libyan model for negotiation. The one bundle approach with the code "big deal, not small deal," substituted an all or nothing negotiating process, in lieu of, step by step reciprocal trust building measures, leading potentially to a comprehensive denuclearization in stages.

*38 North is a website devoted to informed analysis of North Korea.

The administration is taking a piecemeal approach to negotiation

The so called phased or step by step approach with reciprocal concessions. Therefore it would be difficult to characterize it as a sweeping success, even if there are positive concessions from North Korea. Early on Bolton castigated this approach and preferred the unrealistic "one bundle" or "Libyan approach," to negotiations which demonstrates his incompetence in Asian affairs if not in diplomacy generally.

The negotiations will begin to look like what occurred before in the six party talks, and agreed framework. This has been the inevitable trend all along, although the administration denied it at the outset because it contradicted their campaign promises. The negotiating approach will look more and more like the previous democratic approach to North Korean denuclearization in the past.

Whether the second summit is a "success" or not, will be more about the spin put on it by the media than anything else. Negotiations are a process, they can fail in a moment, but they can only "succeed" over a protracted period of hard work by people who know what they are doing. Any concessions by the US in return for concrete steps to disable nuclear production facilities and open them to inspection will predictably result in a media and MIC think tank uproar.

Fortunately, Biegun appears to be at this point, more competent, than any other person the administration has. We can tell this from the criticism from the Washington Post's Josh Rogin:

The State Department has been working on better coordination with Seoul, establishing a working group under special envoy Stephen Biegun, the lead U.S. negotiator. But recent reports suggest the United States is moving closer to Moon’s position, not the other way around.

The negotiations should be left to Biegun and his working group. But inevitably whatever happens at the summit will become a domestic political football disconnected from the real issues.


Interim US Negotiating Strategy for North Korea Identified as "CVC"

(Source- Channel A News Top Ten 2.15) Title: US "If North Korea wants us to trust its pledge to denuclearize give proof." Third way of denuclearization appears- CVC a locking device for North Korean nuclear development. CVC (comprehensive verifiable caps) Character: an interim process toward FFVD; finish point: end of 2020; Scope: existing nuclear weapons excluded (a cap); Approach: in stages nuclear reporting with verification authorized. FFVD (final, full, verified denuclearization): Character: the final goal of denuclearization; finish point: indefinite; scope: all nuclear resources and weapons systems in the nuclear weapons program; Approach: comprehensive reporting and inspection verification.

In an article this morning. the DongA Ilbo newspaper, (English version), revealed an interview this week with Tony Dalton from the Carnegie Endowment for Peace. Dalton described an interim negotiating strategy of achieving "comprehensive verifiable caps" or CVC on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. The title of the article from the conservatively oriented newspaper is somewhat misleading: "Advisors to Biegun call for middle phase before denuclearization." What they mean is before complete denuclearization. The copyrighted article is recommended for an explanation of what CVC is.


Apparently experts from the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and also from Stanford have been advising Biegun. Naturally, the neocons and political opposition in DC are apprehensive about possible progress in the negotiations with North Korea. The Josh Rogin article in the Washington Post also referenced in the Channel A News Top Ten program today, was critical of the role of South Korea's Moon Jae In, and disparaged his desire to reopen Kumgansan resort and the Kaesong joint industrial area. He also mentioned South Korea's desire to reestablish rail links with North Korea. Such desires for sanctions waivers weaken the US negotiating position according to the pro-Japanese neocon author. The author suggests that Biegun instead of reigning in and controlling South Korean policy has moved closer to the South Korean administration's view of a successful approach to negotiating with North Korea. So he quotes from such well informed persons on Asian issues as Ted Cruz and Robert Menendez, in their letter to the Secretary of State. In an ironic twist, Rogin bemoans:

The State Department has been working on better coordination with Seoul, establishing a working group under special envoy Stephen Biegun, the lead U.S. negotiator. But recent reports suggest the United States is moving closer to Moon’s position, not the other way around.


Beigun may turn out to be a better negotiator for taking the advice of the Carnegie Endowment experts and that of the Stanford experts as well, who are among the best the US establishment has concerning the North Korean nuclear issues.

(Source- Channel A News Top Ten 2.15) Edwin Feuler (Heritage Foundation) : In the case where North Korea takes meaningful and sufficient denuclearization measures, reopening the Kumgangsan tourist site may be possible.

In a related report, Channel A News Top Ten analysts discussed the impact of returning overseas workers on North Korea economics and politics. According to UN sanctions, North Koreans working abroad must be returned to their own country before the end of the year. Individual states must report their compliance with this sanction. This is one of the methods DPRK uses to obtain foreign exchange to support its economy laboring under multiple other sanctions restrictions. This is referred to as one of the whips the US has to pressure Kim Jong Un to make substantial nuclear concessions in the negotiations. On the other hand, the source reportedly close to Biegun, Edwin Feuler, of the Heritage Foundation, also alluded to possibility of reopening Kumgangsan resort in North Korea, financed and patronized by South Koreans, in terms of sanctions waivers, as an incentive, if the North shows good faith and makes substantial nuclear concessions. The reopening of Kaesong, the joint North South industrial zone in North Korea is regarded as a bridge too far at this point.

Absolutely no relief on sanctions guarantees failure

Marginal sanctions relief on a step by step basis with substantial concessions from the North on denuclearization, allowing inspectors to verify denuclearization steps, etc., is a way to proceed with negotiations.

The sanctions waivers that South Korea needs to reopen Kumgansang, and Kaesong are a good starting point. The North needs to deliver to get those.

The North doesn't really have any hard and set demands regarding US troop withdrawal, that issue concerns the deployment of "strategic assets," like aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and long range bombers. The US has a nuclear strike capability that can reach anywhere in the world, with or without the visibility of such assets in the immediate region.

Conducting massive military joint military exercises in their neighborhood is obviously a reason for them not to denuclearize and US military leadership understands that as well.

The notion that South Korea might have objected to the suspension of joint military exercises by Trump after the first summit is absurd. This is what the South Korean administration wanted.

There is an inherent conflict between maintaining the greatest possible sanctions and proposals for normalization of relations with the US. These kinds of contradictions are typical of US Asia policies in which the left hand doesn't like what the right hand is doing.

Linking denuclearization negotiations to human rights issues in North Korea is another formula for failed talks. The idea that lobby groups in the UN and the US, and political opposition in Korea itself care or know more about human rights abuses or what to do about them than the current administration in South Korea is off base as well.

Trump undercuts his ROK conservative supporters with imperial remark

South Korea says no change on North Korean sanctions
Joyce Lee, Hyonhee Shin

Kang’s remarks on sanctions, retracted after criticism from South Korean lawmakers, prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to say South Korea would need U.S. approval to relieve sanctions.

“They won’t do it without our approval. They do nothing without our approval,” Trump told reporters, when asked about her comments.

Trump has said sanctions will remain in place until North Korea it denuclearizes.

Kang backtracked on her remarks after facing criticism from some conservative lawmakers that the sanctions cannot be removed unless North Korea first apologized for the attack, a stance adopted by former South Korean governments.


It's obvious that South Korea is trying to get ready for a time in the future when sanctions are eased in some respect. ROK Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Hwa mentioning this outright was to blunder into the radical minority conservative party's trap, of making any reconciliation with the north dependent on approval from the surviving families of the Chonan incident. This would furnish an additional delaying tactic after any easing of international sanctions to the minority party which adamantly opposes the current democratic party administration on all fronts. Ironically, Trump's dumb remarks discredited and undermined his conservative South Korean supporters by painting them as tools of an outside great power that seeks to dominate South Korea's internal political policies. The minority conservative parties, whose corrupt former presidents are in prison, suffered additional political losses during the last off year election. They have been desperately seeking to get some traction against the Moon administration.

Trump's remarks fall right into the North Korean ideological criticism of the South as a "lackey of the imperialist US," and diminish South Korea's posture both with the North and internationally. Korean conservatives, especially in the Liberty Korea Party, continue to play the role of spoiler for the US and Japan in South Korean internal politics.

However, some Korean conservative lawmakers are trying to distance themselves from Trump's remarks calling them "insulting."

South Korean National Security Advisor's Visit to DC: A Mistake?

Chung Eui Yong avoided questions about the results of his most recent trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with National Security Advisor John Bolton, other than to say their talks had been productive. Specifically, he refused to answer the question about whether he had discussed a declaration to end the Korean War at the meeting. An anonymous South Korean foreign office news source said that Chung's trip to Washington was a mistake. According to this source, he was told, "Don't persuade us, persuade North Korea first," which sounds a lot like a rebuke. This raises Moon's recent comment at the Singapore ASEAN conference concerning the stalemate, of "which comes first, the chicken or the egg?" This the South Korean president's reference to the timing of denuclearizaton measures desired by the US and UN, and establishment of a "peace regime," on the Korean peninsula, desired by the North Koreans, including a declaration that the Korean war is over. As the reporter at the airport persisted in his question about the declaration of the end of the Korean war issue, Chung just made a wry smile, and said goodbye.

As the US returned to a hard line in the negotiations with North Korea, South Korean Kang Kyung Hwa met with Pompeo at the UN, to make a "no daylight" presentation on stiffening the sanctions regime on North Korea. Her normally serious demeanor was replaced by an ebullient touchy feely posing with Secretary Pompeo which seemed oddly inappropriate under the circumstances. Sources in the White House had made suggestions that South Korea somehow shared responsibility for sanctions violations involving importation of coal from two foreign registry ships from Panama and Sierra Leone, respectively, that were allegedly transhipped from Russia, disguising the identity of the North Korean bulk shipment. The issue was why didn't the South Koreans investigate the brokers and seize the shipments?

Apparently, Kang got some concessions from the US regarding pending issues agreed to between North and South Korea at Panmunjeom. One exception to the sanctions being the exception for the shipment of military communications materials and vehicles to North Korea for communications between North Korean and South Korean military commands aimed at avoiding provocations or incidents that could jeopardize security. The second exemption involves resources necessary to support a civil liason office at the Kaeseong Industrial zone in North Korea. The third exemption requested was for materials, equipment and other resources necessary to renovate the Kumgangsan Resort facility to be used for the separate families reunion schedule for August 20. This latter event is currently on hold on the North Korean side, who have been critical of Moon's ASEAN speech for merely "chanting in unison" with his "American master" and flippantly advising Kim what to do to avoid a "serious judgement from international society."

It is unlikely that National Security Advisor Chung's trip to meet Bolton was a mistake, but it may have been futile. The discussion about what the North Korean dissatisfaction is really all about has been covered in South Korean media and couldn't be clearer to anyone who follows North Korean official media. It's definitely not something to which the hardliners in the administration are receptive, as they line up to conform to the avalanche of criticism in the US media after the summit and the suspension of joint military exercises.

Before the summit when Trump and Pompeo met with Kim Yong Chol, the Vice Chairman of State Affairs in North Korea, they told him they would consider an announcement ending the Korean War. In fact, Pompeo had already announced publicly that there would be no CVID, (complete verifiable irreversible denuclearization) without guarantees of North Korean security, CVIG, complete verifiable irreversible guarantee of (North Korean) security.


Shortly after the summit in Singapore, they again demonstrated that they understood North Korean concerns about security and the notion of reciprocity and trust building by suspending joint military exercises with South Korea.

After the wave of criticism here in the US from the usual interested parties and opposition, Pompeo and Trump retreated for political cover to the "one sided, ganster like demand," for nuclear disarmament by the North. When Pompeo got to Pyongyang for post summit negotiations, he refused to consider North Korean requests oriented toward normalizing diplomatic relations and ending the war. That put everything on hold. It is likely it was known this would happen before Pompeo arrived in Pyongyang.

It's possible that the serviceman's remains repatriation issue is still on track. S.Korean news reports on the 21st suggested that the talks had been successful. The date set for repatriation is July 27, the 65th Anniversary of the Armistice.

Here's another indication that the North Korean's aren't giving up on what the US promised at the summit in Singapore.

"A declaration of the end of the war to relieve tension on the Korean peninsula, and to construct a peace regime, is the first process. In order to build trust with the United States, this is an indispensable demand." (Our People North Korean web site)

Perhaps the White House wants to forget the joint statement President Trump signed in Singapore with Kim Jong Un.

CIA Assessment Sways Trump?

South Korea's A Channel Top Ten program is reporting based upon an Asahi Shin Moon (Japanese newspaper) story, that Trump's decision to meet Kim, was based upon a CIA assessment that he was attracted to western culture, affected by his education in Switzerland, and would be easier to deal with than previous North Korean leaders in negotiations. Wow, what a brilliant observation! Dennis Rodman figured this out a few years back. What was the giveaway? The empty beach and ski resorts or the fact that he loves basketball?

On the other hand, the powerful attraction of westerners for eastern culture is also playing a role. South Korea has played an enormous role in this development over decades propagating their Korean culture internationally. The active efforts of President Moon's administration to capitalize on South Korean media sophistication in its messaging to both the North and the US have used this experience to drive recent diplomacy.

The idea that the CIA unlocked this possibility is an overstatement, but I'll give the devil due credit for a certain level of intelligence if he saw the opportunity while listening to his CIA experts, and grabbed it.

It's the Lawrence of Arabia hubris lurking in the heart of westerners that is being seduced as well. So now we are treated daily to the spectacle of endless politicians and pundits purporting ludicrously to be experts on negotiating with the far east.
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