Kim Yong-chol, a former North Korean spy master and vice chairman of its ruling Workers’ Party, had been the country’s most internationally visible diplomat in the past year, visiting the White House twice and leading negotiations for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s two summit meetings with President Trump. This week, leading South Korean newspapers reported Kim Yong-chol’s fall from grace. One of them, the conservative daily Chosun Ilbo, went so far as to report that Mr. Kim had been banished to forced labor, with many of his negotiating team members either executed or sent to prison camps.
President Trump publicly undercut John R. Bolton, his national security adviser, on Iran and North Korea in recent days, raising questions about the administration’s policy and personnel in the middle of confrontations with both long-term American adversaries.
Kim Jong-un’s test of what analysts said could be a new short-range guided or cruise missile shows the North Korean leader reverting to saber rattling as he seeks to end sanctions that are derailing his hopes of rejuvenating the North’s economy.
President Trump undercut his own Treasury Department on Friday by announcing that he was rolling back North Korea sanctions that it imposed just a day ago. The move, announced on Twitter, was a remarkable display of dissension within the Trump administration and represented a striking case of a White House intervening to reverse a major national security decision made only hours earlier by the president’s own officials.
President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un abruptly cut short their two-day summit Thursday amid contradictory accounts over why they were unable to reach an agreement to dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons. Talks collapsed unexpectedly amid a disagreement about the trade-off between sanctions relief and denuclearization steps, leaving questions about the next possible moves for each side to keep alive the diplomatic outreach.
President Trump lashed out at U.S. intelligence officials Wednesday, calling them “extremely passive and naive” about the “dangers of Iran” and pushing back on their assessments of the Islamic State and North Korea during a congressional hearing. In tweets, Trump offered what amounted to a rebuttal of testimony on global threats provided to the Senate on Tuesday by a panel of top officials from his administration.
A new American intelligence assessment of global threats has concluded that North Korea is “unlikely to give up” all of its nuclear stockpiles, and that Iran is not “currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activity” needed to make a bomb, directly contradicting two top tenets of President Trump’s foreign policy.
On Thursday, North Korea shattered any illusions that may still linger in Seoul and Washington about the reclusive state’s willingness to negotiate away its nuclear deterrent. It did so by defining exactly what it means by “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” – the mission-critical phrase that was at the heart of the June Singapore Summit Declaration signed by Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made “significant progress” over the weekend toward dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear program. The problem is it’s not clear what advancement he’s pointing to.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s agreement is bad for President Donald Trump’s denuclearization efforts. On the issue that matters most to the United States — the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear program — no one can claim much progress. Kim said he’d allow international inspectors into the country to watch as he destroys a missile engine testing site and a major nuclear facility, but experts say Pyongyang doesn’t actually need those specific sites anymore, which makes that a much less significant concession than it sounds.
U.S. spy agencies are seeing signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, according to officials familiar with the intelligence.
While both Trump and Graham are likely right that Beijing had a hand in North Korea’s recalcitrant statement on Pompeo, the turn is likely part of a wider strategy to supplant America’s geopolitical dominance in Asia rather than a reaction to the tiff on tariffs.
Trump’s betrayal of South Korea and eruption at Trudeau are not one-offs, or events you can write off as simple quirks of the president’s personality. It is part of a broader slate of Trump policies and diplomatic efforts that have, put together, fundamentally weakened America’s ties with its traditional allies — in ways that could have potentially disastrous consequences for the world.
Despite’s the president’s confidence, details surrounding the document remain vague, with reports suggesting it appears to lack firm commitments by Kim. The document purportedly makes no mention of North Korea’s human rights violations—a topic Trump had promised would not even be broached during the summit. According to Trump, North Korea will begin steps to denuclearize “very quickly,” while the US has agreed to halt military exercises in the region. That significant concession appears to have blindsided the South Korean government.
In the Chinese border town of Hunchun, garment factories gladly employ squads of North Koreans, who are valued as skilled and dutiful workers. Live crab from the North wriggle in huge tanks in the fish market. Informal bankers promise to deliver the equivalent of thousands of dollars in Chinese currency to North Koreans across the border in a matter of hours.
President Trump has notified Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, that he has canceled their much-anticipated meeting to discuss steps toward denuclearization and peace because of recent “tremendous anger and open hostility” by Pyongyang toward members of his administration.
Donald Trump has threatened Kim Jong-un with the same fate as Muammar Gaddafi if the North Korean leader “doesn’t make a deal” on his nuclear weapons programme. The US president issued the threat at t he White House when he was asked about the recent suggestion by his national security adviser, John Bolton, that the “Libyan model” be a template for dealing with North Korea at a summit between Trump and Kim planned for 12 June in Singapore.
One of China’s most internationally successful technology suppliers, with about $17 billion in annual revenue, ZTE is facing a death sentence. The Commerce Department has blocked its access to American-made components until 2025, saying the company failed to punish employees who violated trade controls against Iran and North Korea.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has placed himself back at the center of the game, as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to Beijing adds yet another piece to the fast-shifting diplomatic chess board that is the Korean peninsula.
Over the past six weeks, the Trump administration’s roster of Korean experts, already depleted, grew even thinner. The White House mysteriously dropped its choice for ambassador to Seoul. The State Department’s top North Korea specialist resigned. And the senior Asia director at the National Security Council was out the past two weeks on paternity leave.
President Trump again raised the prospect of nuclear war with North Korea, boasting in strikingly playground terms on Tuesday night that he commands a “much bigger” and “more powerful” arsenal of devastating weapons than the outlier government in Asia.
An initial assessment by the US Department of Defense said North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). This type of missile is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and could reach the mainland of the United States. If the Pentagon's first assessment turns out to be correct, it would be the third test of an ICBM by North Korea this year.
President Trump signaled Sunday that he does not believe that attempts at direct communications with North Korea are worth the effort despite escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. A day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested that the United States maintains “lines of communications” with Kim Jong Un's regime, Trump wrote on Twitter that Tillerson is “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man” — his nickname for Kim.
The disturbing analysis, written by Rusi director general Malcolm Chalmers, says a war could be triggered by either Washington or Pyongyang, but it warns there is a growing risk action could be taken by Donald Trump to “resolve” the issue “sooner rather than later”. “War is now a real possibility,” the report states. “With North Korea making rapid progress in its missile and nuclear programmes, time is not on diplomacy's side.”
The United States has never cared much about international law. But most U.S. presidents had at least made an effort to pretend that they did. Based on President Donald Trump’s speech Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, this is yet another American tradition that he’s discarding. Trump’s overturning of this American norm came during his blusterous threats against North Korea:
“I will always put America first just like you, the leaders of your countries, should put your countries first,” Trump said, returning to a campaign theme and the “America First” phrase that has been criticized as isolationist and nationalistic. The president warned of growing threats from North Korea and Iran, and he said, “The scourge of our planet is a group of rogue regimes.” The North Korean delegation was seated, by chance, in the front row, mere feet from the U.N. podium.
President Trump is now fully engaged in two nuclear confrontations, one with Iran over a nuclear accord he finds an “embarrassment” and the other with North Korea that is forcing the Pentagon to contemplate for the first time in decades what a resumption of the Korean War might look like. The dynamics of those cases are entirely different, but they are also oddly interdependent. If Mr. Trump makes good on his threat to pull out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, how will he then convince the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, that America will honor the commitment to integrate North Korea into the world community if only it disarms — the demand Mr. Trump made from the podium of the United Nations.
Commercial satellite imagery, the respected Johns Hopkins University advisory reports, show increased numbers of massive landslides near the slopes of Mt. Mantap, near Pyongyang’s nuclear test area. Kim’s regime is essentially engineering giant earthquakes. It was a March 2011 quake, remember, that precipitated the Fukushima atomic plant meltdown, the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.
North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan on Friday, a bold test that defied the new sanctions resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council earlier this week, as well as repeated warnings from around the world that the country should stop raising tensions
The United Nations Security Council’s 15-0 vote to impose a new set of sanctions on North Korea somewhat disguises the critical role played by the Russia-China strategic partnership, the “RC” at the core of the BRICS group.
The whole thing begins with the division of Korea in 1945. People think it began with the Korean War, but the Korean War only happened because of the 1945 division [of Korea by the U.S. and Soviet Union at the end of World War II]. What we’re seeing is Korea stuck in between. Essentially no Americans know what happened between 1945 and the start of the Korean War. And few Americans know what happened during the war. [Syngman Rhee, the U.S.-installed ultra right-wing South Korean dictator, massacred tens of thousands of South Koreans before North Korea invaded in 1950. Rhee’s government executed another 100,000 South Koreans in the war’s early months. Then the barbaric U.S. air war against North Korea killed perhaps one-fifth of its population.]
In a diplomatic gamble, President Trump is seeking to enlist China as a peacemaker in the bristling nuclear-edged dispute with North Korea at the very moment he plans to ratchet up conflict with Beijing over trade issues that have animated his political rise.
China’s president, Xi Jinping, has told Donald Trump in a phone call that all sides should avoid rhetoric or action that would worsen tensions on the Korean peninsula, according to Chinese state media. Reports quoted Xi as saying: “At present, the relevant parties must maintain restraint and avoid words and deeds that would exacerbate the tension on the Korean peninsula.”
Much of South Korea has been within range of Pyongyang’s artillery, unguided rockets, and short-range missiles, for some time. Indeed, such threats against Seoul and its huge metropolitan surroundings have existed for many years. As for Japan, North Korea has long had the ability to deliver some type of warhead to much of the island nation. However, without a reliable re-entry vehicle to protect a nuclear device during re-entry into the atmosphere, a missile of any longer range adds little to the threat level for Seoul or Tokyo.
Moon will take office at a time of heightened tensions with North Korea. To understand what kind of policy he will pursue requires familiarity with liberal foreign-policy thinking in South Korea since the 1998-2003 presidency of Kim Dae-jung. Kim had watched the Cold War come to a peaceful end in Europe, and he wanted to bring his own country’s ongoing confrontation with the communist North to a similarly non-violent conclusion.
Russia raised the level of alert for its air defense system just a few hours after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile on Saturday and after Washington and Moscow clashed at the United Nations over a possible military conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
Lawmakers said they came away convinced that the Trump administration recognized the urgency of the mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula, where Pyongyang conducted a failed missile test last week and drew international condemnation for the launch. But several members of Congress said the administration remained vague about its efforts to confront Pyongyang beyond tougher talk from Trump.
Behind the Trump administration’s sudden urgency on North Korea lies a stark calculus: that the country is capable of making a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks. “People have put blindfolds on for decades, and now it’s time to solve the problem,” Mr. Trump said. He made his remarks after a Sunday night phone call on North Korea with Xi Jinping, China’s president, who urged Mr. Trump to show “restraint” with North Korea, according to a Chinese television report.
Donald Trump’s latest moves toward North Korea are “dangerous” and sow confusion in a tense geopolitical scenario, says veteran Korea analyst Daniel C Sneider. Trump’s recent declaration that he ordered a US carrier strike group to race toward Korea when there was no such force in the vicinity undercuts American credibility and increases the possibility of a misstep, said Sneider, associate director of research for Stanford University’s Walter H Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center.
With many Koreans still aggravated by U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial comment that "Korea used to be a part of China," his closest business partner, Vice President Mike Pence, has jangled their nerves again. During a Tuesday meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Pence called the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan the "Sea of Japan." The name has been a long-standing point of conflict between Seoul and Tokyo, which the former has promoted as the "East Sea."
Vice President Mike Pence warned North Korea on Monday not to test American resolve, but he also raised the possibility that the Trump administration could pursue talks. The message, delivered by Mr. Pence on a visit to South Korea that included a stop at the demilitarized zone that divides the Korean Peninsula, showed that the administration, while talking tough, was not ruling out negotiations.
China warned on Friday that tensions on the Korean Peninsula could spin out of control, as North Korea said it could test a nuclear weapon at any time and an American naval group neared the peninsula in a show of resolve.