North Korea – whassup?
Big Red Car here on a lovely Saturday morning back from blueberry pancakes at the Counter Cafe, y’all. Is this a great country or what?
So, I have been following the continuing saga with North Korea and their de-nuclearization. The story continues.
Let’s update it a bit, shall we?
What a difference a year makes
Last year at the same ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Papua New Guinea (observer)), then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did not intend to be in the same room as the North Korean representative.
This year Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho exchanged greetings. Minister Ri speaks excellent English.
Prior to the meeting Chairman Kim had sent a personal letter to President Trump. At the conference, President Trump’s personal response to the Kim letter was delivered by the Americans to the North Koreans.
Since the negotiations have been conducted, North Korea has taken some actions:
1. North Korea destroyed two test facilities.
2. North Korea freed three Americans held captive in North Korea.
3. North Korea has begun to repatriate the remains of American soldiers killed in North Korea during the Korean War.
4. North Korea has begun to attend direct talks with the United States.
5. North Korea has not conducted any bomb tests or missile tests for the last 10 months.
There are some issues:
1. Russia – in violation of United Nations sanctions – continues to employ North Korean “guest workers.”
2. Russia continues to conduct ship-to-ship transfers of oil and coal at sea.
3. North Korea is believed to be continuing to operate centrifuges which are used to concentrate uranium. They are also believed to be processing plutonium. They are also working on missile development.
4. The North Korean Foreign Minister delivered a diatribe against the United States at the ASEAN Conference for approaching the negotiations poorly and decrying the US failure to “boost confidence.”
Let me translate that “boost confidence” baloney – the North Koreans want the US to relax sanctions and to lead an effort at the United Nations to relax UN sanctions. Good luck with that, North Korea. Not going to happen.
This is standard North Korean baloney wanting Christmas to come early because they played nice for a short period of time. Not going to happen, y’all.
Bottom line it, Big Red Car
The North Koreans are a soulless, brutal regime. They did not stop being a soulless, brutal regime because President Trump and Chairman Kim sat down for a Crystal Burger in Singapore. It was a start, but they are still the same bastards they have always been.
The North Koreans are going to try to play the US. That’s their modus operandi. Always has been. They are very close to being broke. Now is not the time to relax sanctions. They are working. Big league!
They picked the wrong boy to play in President Trump.
The North Koreans have their 70th anniversary of their founding coming up in September. The US has discouraged other countries from sending a delegation. This pisses the NKs off.
We are looking at a 4-5 year process with Kim’s bunch. Progress will be slow. There will rough spots along the way. The US is not going to relax those sanctions until NK is denuclearized. In the mean time, President Trump will attempt to use his charm to influence the process.
Russia could be very helpful, but right now, they are a major league pain in the ass.
China has been a little more helpful, but could do a lot more.
We are playing 4-dimension chess here. It will be a multi-touch process.