(National Sentinel) Stalling: It appears as though critics who never believed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was serious about denuclearization may have been correct.
His recent threats to pull out of a June summit in Singapore with President Donald J. Trump, which was being touted as the first step towards denuclearization and a formal peace treaty, are meant to buy time so he can hide his weapons, U.S. intelligence officials believe.
Then again, some believe, the threats could be directed at Kim’s people — for public relations purposes.
As reported by The Washington Times:
North Korea’s abrupt threat this week to pull out of the upcoming summit with President Trump was highly calculated, according to intelligence officials who say Pyongyang wanted to harden its negotiating position against a quick “Libya-style” surrender of its nuclear programs sought by the Trump White House and buy time to hide its nuclear weapons.
While U.S. officials say they believe Pyongyang’s threat — conveyed so far only via state-controlled media — was also driven by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s need to show his domestic audience he won’t “roll over” to Mr. Trump, the development raised fresh questions about the scope of Pyongyang’s nuclear operations and Mr. Kim’s willingness to abandon them.
The problem is when it comes to dealing with North Korea, the trust factor just isn’t there.
The last major deal the U.S. inked with North Korea was the 1994 “Agreed Framework,” in which the U.S. pledged economic and technical support for Pyongyang in exchange for the regime abandoning its nuke program.
We can see — nearly 25 years later — how that turned out.
“The North Koreans have this belief they can somehow outsmart the U.S.,” said Anthony Ruggiero, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who is close with the Trump administration and has past experience negotiating with Pyongyang.
“They may be attempting to sanitize their facilities right now while also trying to buy more time for that,” he told the Times.
North Korean diplomats have gone after the president’s national security advisor, John Bolton, specifically, for suggesting that the “Libyan model” would work best.
That’s a reference to a 2003 deal the U.S. and Britain made with then-Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi to give up his nuclear materials.
But his nuclear program was far less advanced than that of North Korea.
Not only that, but a nuclear weapons-free Gadhafi was later toppled by a NATO-backed rebellion in 2011 — the “Arab Spring” movement fomented by the Obama administration — which saw the Libyan leader hunted down and killed by rebels.
Kim isn’t about to let that happen to him, if he can help it.
That said, intelligence officials believe that since lower-ranking North Korean diplomats are doing the talking and criticizing Bolton instead of Trump, it means that much of it is likely political posturing meant to mollify the North Korean people.
Time will tell. One thing Kim has realized, according to several sources, is that Trump isn’t’ Obama…or George W. Bush….or Bill Clinton.
He’s serious when he says he won’t let Pyongyang have nuclear weapons capable of destroying American cities.
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