Kim and Trump Back at Square 1: If U.S. Keeps Sanctions, North Will Keep Nuclear Program

The North Korean leader’s New Year speech seemed to challenge President Trump to backtrack on the American goal of zero North Korean nuclear weapons.

Comments: 152

  1. Well, Trump the master deal maker has fallen flat on his face. But he and Kim are in love. The whole world knew this would happen, NK is doing what they always do. Renig on any deal.

  2. did donnie have Cohan pay $130,000 yo Kim? (stage name 'little rocket man'?)

  3. The only accomplishment of Trump's summit meeting was to slow down his rush for a confrontation. Only the NK side knows what really happened, as Trump had no aide with him and gave only a thin and perhaps overly positive readout to his aides and Congress. Few foreign policy experts had much good to say about the communique and press reports indicate that NK continues its nuclear ambitions. At some point Kim will add criticism of Trump to his criticism of other elements of the USG. This criticism will add to Trump's frustration that he is losing the domestic PR boost over the summit. If past is any precedent, Trump will react badly.

  4. But...but...they fell in love!

  5. Trump may be back at the beginning but our nation and the security of South Korea fell down even further since he took office. First he gave Kim the advantage when he tried to play “chicken” with him and instead of Kim being cowed, the temperature of nuclear engagement threw us and our allies into a tizzy. Then at the summit he gave away our show of military force by conceding to Kim’s desire to cease joint military maneuvers with S Korea and we got nothing but air kisses. However it opened the door for China to become more militant with island and military advancement. So unfortunately WE are not just back at square one, and if Trump continues to play diplomat (a role he is not adept at nor equipped for, we will all face further harm from him playing his presidential realit show star role. Time for Congress to put the brakes on and prohibit any more @secret” negotiations or commitments made by Trump such our nation has to honor.

  6. @Mountain Dragonfly...Have you followed relations between North and South Korea lately? Have you followed China's military build-up as well as its expansion into the South China Sea? Where did you get the idea that we "ceased" joint military training operations with South Korea? Being anti-Trump is no excuse for being ill informed.

  7. Remember the lyrics to "Moon River"? They can be paraphrased here: Two grifters Out to fleece the world There's such a lot of world who don't see They're after their own rainbows' ends These two cynical friends Kim Jung-un and Trump!

  8. Another day, and another Trump failure. Every sentient being knew Trump would fail with North Korea. Indeed, the only result of Trump’s “engagement” with North Korea is he legitimized their murderous regime. Nice going, Donnie.

  9. Who knew who was getting played in their last summit? While Kim Jong Un at 34 years old is not old enough to be President of the United States he has more political experience and talent governing a nation state than Donald Trump and his Cabinet and White House staff combined. What could go wrong in another summit between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump? After what happened to Moammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein after they gave up their nuclear weapons programs why should Kim Jong Un surrender North Korea's nukes? Unlike the nuclear weapons international rogue nations Israel, India and Pakistan. North Korea is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty aka NPT. Like America, China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom, North Korea is a party to the NPT and has nuclear weapons.

  10. And in other news of Asia, China makes clear that force could be used to reunite Taiwan with mainland China. Can we have a response from the administration on this tidbit? Guess it makes no difference because if North Korea can determine US policy, the China certainly will. No one cares what the US thinks at this time, since we have a headless government.

  11. Mr. Trump has weakened the US side. The US continues to be war with NK for the same reason it is at war with ISIS. Communism and Radical Islam are hostile ideologies, from the US perspective. "They want to destroy our way of living," is the usual argument. Whether the reasons are good or bad, the object is to figure out how to endure, if winning is not in sight. That's how one wins. Endurance. Mr. Trump's negotiating style is ill suited for diplomacy. He lacks the patience to endure. He cheats at arm wrestling by trying to use either his charm or tantrums to get his way. Trump has turned the clock back. Everything we have worked for, albeit slowly, up to this point has been lost and we have to being again, decades behind where we were two years ago. Sadly, the same scenario can be expected with the economy, both domestic and global, and with Climate.

  12. North Korea is not a communistic country: it is an ideologically driven Charismatic cult. Just what Trump wishes he had, along with his far right and fundamentalist base

  13. "And then we fell in love, okay? No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters and they're great letters." One grotesque, malignant cartoon romancing another. What could go wrong? After all, they're in love. Mr. Trump said so.

  14. @Basil Kostopoulos Good comment, Basil. Happy Name Day...and Xronia Polla.

  15. He "fell in love" with his three wives. Look at the relationships now...

  16. But the president said we were all safer after he met w Kim didn’t he? Don’t forget he is a master negotiator and deal maker. (And he made a great sacrifice by not golfing over the holiday.)

  17. Don't forget that he unilaterally gave up our war games and strategic exercises with South Korea and got nothing in return, so we are starting this next round of negotiations from a point of weakness.

  18. During 2018 I was constantly concerned about our current administration starting a war somewhere in the world, North Korea for example. I don't think that danger has passed. What is very obvious is that our current Administration has started a new cold war with many countries around the world. We are definitely in dangerous times, and we do not have competent leadership in the United States to steer us through troubled waters.

  19. @VM We have exactly the leadership here Putin and his oil friends paid for.

  20. Kim Jong-un knows that Trump is nothing but a clueless clown. Little rocket man played trump like a drum.

  21. Wouldn't it be simplest to deal with the peace treaty first, with a partial disarmament on their side, and lifting of some sanctions and reduction of military exercises on our side? Then work on full disarmament with inspections and full release of sanctions and downscaling of joint exercises as we saw both sides met their commitments? Personally, if I was still at war with somebody and had agreed to take a pause via armistice, I wouldn't relax either. They only have an agreement to take a break till we possibly fight again, and no peace until they drop all weapons. They were the original aggressor and the children were raised to distrust us and keep their parents' commitments. But ultimately it has been three generations now and the generation in charge was not the generation responsible for the original decisions.

  22. Wrong! He's not back where he started but considerably behind where he started. Trump legitimized Kim's murderous regime with a summit that gave him international recognition by a U.S. president without getting anything in return except a useless photo op. While Trump struts around in his unreality bubble bragging that he has contained North Korea's nuclear threat, his own intelligence agencies keep telling him that Kim is still producing fissile fuel and missiles. Worse yet, China and Russia have stopped helping us enforce sanctions on North Korea because they have long ago decided that Trump is nothing but an empty windbag to be taken advantage of at every turn.

  23. Both of these leaders see themselves gaming the other with lies. But one of these leaders is ultimately unable to tell the truth and will fail us all.

  24. If Congress continues to allow Trump to play nuclear footsie with North Korea, while knowing that Trump questioned the need for US military presence in the region, along with lies regarding the results of the non-public one-on-one, the system is totally broken. No more "secret" one on one meetings.

  25. Who knows what happened in that summit? Trump doesn't have the diplomatic experience to parse the context of the meeting's spoken words being translated to him. To top it off, we rely upon his twitter feed to explain the meeting, and that requires a second layer of translation. The disconnect is best described with Trump's own comment about , " looking forward to meeting with Chairman Kim who realizes so well that North Korea possesses great economic potential!" Does he really think that's first and foremost on Kim's mind, and that they even remotely have the same idea of what that economic potential means? Naïve. Plain Naïve. Bottom line. North Korea isn't giving up it's nuclear weapons.

  26. John Bolton is a hack hire by a hack. What could Possibly go wrong?

  27. Yuck. I can't stand the term "optics". So we're all now experts and insiders on political strategy and marketing? Or must journalists all sound like political insiders? Is our discourse so impoverished that we have to stoop to using such language? As Ben Zimmer wrote in the Times several years ago: "'optics' puts a new spin on things, giving a scientific-sounding gloss to P.R. and image-making". Just use the English language; it's unnecessary to pump up your analytical prowess with such terminology. No más gloss, please!!! "The list of recent North Korean demands was a clear indicator of how the summit meeting in Singapore last June altered the optics of the relationship more than the reality."

  28. Trump's script with North Korea has gone like this: 1. Trump suddenly threatens to push the red button and bomb North Korea back to the Stone Age. 2. Kim Jong Un makes similar threats but makes "bargaining" overtures to test Trump's mettle. 3. The two sides sign an agreement completely lacking in specifics or teeth. 4. Trump declares "Problem Solved!" He claims he's made a brilliant "deal" and also says he's the first and only president to have been able to bring about Peace In Our Time with North Korea. Fox News reports this as absolute truth, and other news outlets fail to make clear that the agreement has no substance. 5. Kim Jong Un knows Trump has done nothing to actually effect nuclear disarmament in North Korea, and that Trump doesn't understand what it would actually take to achieve disarmament. 6. Kim Jong Un once again cranks up his nuclear program, and lies about it. 7. Radio silence from Trump. Trump couldn't make an actual good deal -- meaning total nuclear disarmament by North Korea -- if his life depended on it. If we can be sure of one thing, it's that for the next two years (at least), nothing of substance is going to happen with respect to North Korea's behavior on its nukes. When I look at the photo accompanying this article (of Trump shaking hands with Kim Jong Un) what I see are two of the craziest megalomaniacs on the planet shaking hands as they simultaneously lie through their teeth to each other and to everyone else.

  29. For President Trump, appearance and adulation is everything. It doesn't matter if North Korea actually denuclearizes its arsenal, any more than it matters: 1) if a physical wall on our southern border is the best solution to border security; 2) if climate change is an existential threat to our country and the planet; 3) if last year's tax cuts benefit mostly the wealthiest Americans, and add enormously to our national debt; 4) if "draining the swamp" means appointing billionaires to the Cabinet who have no experience in the areas they'll manage; 5) if the Trump campaign actually worked with Russia, and if Russia and other foreign governments are working to destabilize our democracy; 6) ...and on and on and on... None of these things matter to Mr. Trump. The only thing that matters is the "appearance" of progress. It's a triumph of marketing over substance.

  30. trump will rue the day he thought he was capable of playing in the big leagues.

  31. @Chris Yes Chris. Most likely so will the USA and the rest of the world as well.

  32. @Tonyp152 We already do.

  33. Unsurprisingly, Trump achieved nothing during his visit to North Korea other than embarrassing our nation and weakening our position in the world.

  34. Trump is playing checkers with counterparts who are chess grandmasters.

  35. @Steve--To play chess, one has to study and master the game.

  36. Kim knows what happen to Gaddafi. Gaddafi give up his program of nuclear armement and now he is dead.

  37. Trump was satisfied with the show he made. Results are of no real importance.

  38. Kim will never give up his nukes. Why would he? He knows the survival of his regime depends on them. He cannot trust that Trump or a future US President won't renege on an agreement and make an aggressive move on his country. How could the Korean region be denuked when the US can easily move warships with nukes off the North Korean coast. Because of this Trump's stated goal of denuking Kim will never happen. Trump just hopes to divert the attention of US voters with other wedge issues like the wall and government shut down as Kim continues to play the PR game while also building more nukes.

  39. It’s now clear that North Korea will not give up its nuclear weapons and probably not its long range missile program either. But that’s not the worst news. The worst news is that North Korea could become a significant exporter of nuclear weapons. We have several choices, not mutually exclusive: 1. Simply accept that they are a nuclear power and continue with rapprochement, preventing the export of weapons to other states and further ICBM development. 2. Accept that they are nuclear power, but try to apply maximum economic pressure for as long as possible. This incentivizes North Korea to export nuclear weapons to earn hard cash. 3. Attack North Korea in an all-out effort to destroy their nuclear weapons and missiles. 4. Enable South Korea and Japan to acquire nuclear weapons. There will be no U.S. public support for military action of the necessary scale and losses without an immediate and direct threat to the U.S. Therefore, we are only left to accept and perhaps limit North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. The bottom line is that North Korea has won. They didn’t defeat Trump, they defeated Clinton, Bush II, and Obama. Sadly, the only thing left for the U.S. is to negotiate the terms of the defeat.

  40. This comes as no surprise to anyone save perhaps Donald. All the pomp, circumstance, photo ops, tweeting, talk of love, etc. but nothing accomplished. Vintage Donald.

  41. @Njlatelifemom And further, he will meet with Kim again, because Kim is one of the only two world leaders who will lower themselves to flatter Trump. Putin is the other, and they BOTH got concessions from Donald for doing so.

  42. Anyone reading only the title may be largely misinformed."Trump is essentially back where he started with North Korea" is essentially inaccurate because the tone is dramatically improved as is illustrated from the quote below as well as the lack of missile / nuclear tests. "had none of the old-style threats of turning Seoul into a “sea of fire” or striking the United States with a “nuclear sword of justice.”" Additionally we have not seen missiles flying toward or over our allies. In my view, papers should inform rather than support a narrative like "Trump can't have any accomplishments". NYT please be more objective when choosing article titles. As you must know, more titles are read than articles.

  43. @John, the missiles flying over Japan, etc. came during the Trump administration. So Trump's diplomatic efforts haven't stopped much that wasn't going on before he took office. Tone, improved or not, is superficial. Deeds mean far more than words. I do agree that journalists at the Times and elsewhere seem to feel compelled to draw a narrative, which seems to go beyond strict reporting into opinionated analysis.

  44. @John This is an odd spin since it was Trump who created a crisis by making those threats. The article's headline in fact underplays the amount of confusion that Trump has injected by saying that he "loves" an international scofflaw, dictator, and murderer of his own people. The North Koreans have proceeded with their program and will continue.

  45. @John The title is accurate. The "accomplishments" you cite are so meager as to be almost non-existent, and don't at all measure up to the Administration's extravagant claims.

  46. Big Hat - No Cattle. The Texas version on D. Trump

  47. Trump and Kim are masters of media manipulation, cult of personality and propaganda but Kim is the master of Trump, as is Putin. They gamed the world for their own purposes, and there is zero actual progress on the Korean peninsula that Trump could take credit for. If you want to understand how harsh it is to live in North Korea, read the incredible book titled "The Orphan Master's Son."

  48. All the fake meetings Trump had with the NK leader was just a fake show. You can't be a bully to every one . People don't trust you and all the chaos and drama Trump shows us and the world daily shows he can't be trusted. Impeach him now.

  49. The title of this New York Times story is: "Kim and Trump Back at Square 1: If U.S. Keeps Sanctions, North Will Keep Nuclear Program" Is that the same thing as President Trump's statement on the day after his historical summit meeting with his new friend Kim? "The nuclear threat of North Korea is over!"

  50. Well, not quite back to where he started. US-S. Korean military exercises have been suspended. And the "artful dealer ' got what? NADA.

  51. Trump is, once again, living the 1950's fantasy that the U.S. is the sole arbitrator of global politics. No reasonable person can expect other countries to give up their sole means of protection from fork-tongued politicians. The "Libya model" proves it. The two Koreas want to be reunited, as much as the two warring sides were reunited after the American Civil War, despite the meddling of global powers. Our military strength can do nothing in the face of nuclear weapons. The world has changed and the U.S. no longer rules it.

  52. Please accept my ignorance but when is the last time that sanctions placed upon a country worked? My sense is that sanctions tend to make life miserable for those at the bottom of a society but have little direct impact on a country's leadership. Kim Jong-un seems to be doing okay, as do his generals. So I'm just wondering when have sanctions actually produce concrete results?

  53. @David Clark Remember South Africa? How about the Russian's fixation on relaxing sanctions currently? I don't think they'd be pushing relief unless they were causing some pain. When's the last time a military option was successful?

  54. Although the tree may be some disagreement, sabctions helped to break the back of apartheid in South Africa.

  55. @John Harper Absolutely - I agree a military option would not be a good thing. I do remember South Africa. I also remember Cuba - so I guess at best sanctions have mixed results.

  56. Trump has just run into the same issues that every other president or diplomat who attempts to deal with North Korea gets hit with. North Korea is a dictatorship not a democracy. If their leader is intransigent there is no backlash. If Kim decides he wants war he's going to have one. If he decides on cooperation one day and withdrawal the next that's what will be. He and Trump have a lot in common except for one thing: Kim is not truly interested in peace. He's very attached to those nuclear weapons he has and he's playing to Trump's weaknesses to stall on giving them up. Clinton wouldn't be doing this dance. Unlike Trump she knows who Kim is. She knows who Putin is. Trump knows nothing about diplomacy or politics. All he knows is how to preen himself when he's flattered or have a tantrum when things don't go his way.

  57. Kim is brilliant and playing Trump for the fool. And what is laughable is that Trump fell for it.

  58. @Philip W--He always falls for flattery! The entire world figured this out within a day of his inauguration.

  59. @Philip W KJU is not brilliant. He's a con, just like Don.

  60. Kim and Trump are not BACK at square one. They never left it. Kim's word is meaningless. He cannot be trusted. Trump's word is meaningless. He can not be trusted. Kim keeps his "base" in line through violent, crushing, authoritarianism. Trump keeps his credulous base in line through telling them the lies they want to hear. They may exchange "beautiful letters" and claim they "fell in love" but they understand nothing. This has never been anything other than some weird reality show starring two emotionally unstable fantasists who have enough weapons to kill millions in a matter of days. Season 3 is underway. We can hope for the best, but let's not confuse this with diplomacy. No one is going to win a Nobel Peace Prize because nothing is real. Maybe we can give them an Emmy to keep our two narcissists happy. But only if they can manage not to kill anyone before the U.S. replaces their lead.

  61. Let's not forget if all else fails, we have Dennis Rodman as a backup. Yes, things have calmed down some since Trump fell in love with North Korea's murderous dictator. But then the eye of the hurricane usually is kinda calm. No expert that I've heard since Obama left office has suggested that Kim Jong Un would ever give up his nuclear weapons. Seems the art of deal belongs to Kim Jong Un. Trump was right to be impressed with the accomplishments of the young dictator. Kim set out to establish himself as a player on the world stage- check... Here's what Trump the promise keeper has accomplished: nuclear disarmament in North Korea 2...shut down war preparation with South Korea 3...John Kelley kept Trump from pulling our troops out of South Korea 4...secret meetings with Kim Jong Un and the Russian dictator Putin 5...considering abandoning the nuclear arms agreement with Russia 7...fights with NATO, Canada, and Mexico 8...terminated a multinational agreement with Iran that Iran was complying with 9...pulled out of Trans-Pacific partnership 10...weakens the US economy with foolish tax cuts, government shutdowns, and tariffs no one agrees with outside of the hand picked yes men at his side Perhaps if we could prove Kim Jong Un was Canadian born Trump would be a little tougher and drop the recurring dictator bromance. My goal for Trump is that he doesn't get us all killed before one of the fifty democrats running for president gets their turn.

  62. Kim Jong-un, like every foreign leader, is playing Trump like a fiddle. He is infinitely more shrewd than Trump, and by all accounts a much better negotiator. He's got Trump cornered; my money is on Kim to come out of this with everything he wants, while keeping his nuclear arsenal intact. Another non-win for Trump, who swore we'd all be "tired of winning" in his disastrous administration.

  63. Well, you see, our President Trump is easily entertained, and grand poobar Kim Jong-un knows how to get a good laugh when he sees it. A merry-go-round is the history here after all.

  64. Where are all the hugs and kisses we saw on TV? And where's the Nobel Peace Prize the Republicans were demanding? Trump can't negotiate with a 3 year old.

  65. @David--Trump has given up on the Nobel Prize and the cover of TIME magazine, and the "Person of the Year" award. Now, he is left with a desire to put his name on a border wall! He actually said, "Some are already calling it the Trump Wall!"

  66. @David And Kim can't negotiate with a toddler.

  67. another glaring example of the lies and failures of this corrupt administration. impeach now.

  68. This article seems more about bashing Trump than about diplomacy OR North Korea.

  69. @Josh G How can you write anything truthful about a lying, corrupt, delusional, obnoxiously loud-mouthed lunatic without implicitly "bashing"him?

  70. @mja Well said. But I wasn’t sure if you were talking about the Stable Genius or the Great Leader. How sad that it’s hard to differentiate the ‘leader’ of the free world from a thug.

  71. Of course there is progress. No missiles have been flying and there have been no tests. Also, the heated rhetoric and threats have stopped. The New York Times needs to be more objective and stop rooting for failure. Its OK to root for failure on the economy or domestic issues, and the NY Times is really good at that, but when it comes to dealing with a nuclear armed country lead by a dictator, rooting for failure is almost like treason.

  72. @johnny The NoKo nuclear program continues to expand. We've legitimized to the NoKo regime by the meeting(s). Sanctions are not being enforced. Progress maybe but not for the US.

  73. @johnny Even in Alabama, we are not that stupid. There is NO progress. Trump set the bar of achieving the ambitious goal of getting Mr. Kim to relinquish his nuclear arsenal.That's what he told us. That is what we measure, not some meaningless "progress point" like no nuclear bombs flying. What are you thinking????? Ask yourself -- does Kim Jong-un still have a nuclear arsenal? It's binary -- Failure = Yes, he does. Success = No, he does not. Just the same old slight of hand from the Grifter and his minions. We will build a big beautiful wall and Mexico will pay for it. However, as FAILURE LOOMS, the wall becomes a fence/slats/"border security" and Mexico will pay for it later/with the tariffs/not at all. From trump, we do have consistency: PROMISES MADE PROMISES BROKEN

  74. @johnny Ask yourself why there are no more tests. When you have achieved successful test results, you no longer need to test. Kim now has a functioning bomb and delivery system. The next time you see one fly, it may have a target programed into its guidance system. No one here is rooting for failure. It is not an option as the results can be quite deadly. Trump has only made a bad situation worse, as usual.

  75. As a result of the summit we learned nothing new about Kim or North Korea. We did learn something new about Trump;His "book list" is solely comprised of love letters

  76. And I was SO enjoying sleeping better since Donald Trump and Kim met (according to our humble President). What a joke. It would be laughable if there wasn't so much at stake here. Kim has played Trump and anyone but Trump's blindly devoted 35% base could see that coming a mile away. We have a fool-in-chief sitting in the Oval Office. "The Art of the Deal?" Rather more like "The Art of the Schlemiel."

  77. Back at Square 1? Not quite. The U.S. has granted de facto recognition to the bloody North Korean regime and received precisely nothing in exchange. Usually such actions have a quid pro quo. Apparently our "stable genius" doesn't require such. Now the President of the United States has met with the North Korean tyrant (at our expense, I might add), which granted the regime something twelve previous presidents understood should be denied. Now it's up to Trump to explain what we have received in the discussions so far.

  78. Trump still claims that NK has stopped its nuclear program. Our intelligence services tell us otherwise. Kim openly states that they’re not suspending production of nukes. Trump claims victory. Trump tears up deal with Iran that allowed inspectors to oversee dismantling. This is leadership?

  79. But, but, but...I thought they fell in love?!

  80. Trump's long-term-strategy is to make the citizens of the United States "comfortable" with a nuclear-armed North Korea. After all, we live (and most of us sleep soundly) with nuclear-armed nations who are not our friends but are not seen as irrationally belligerent (Russia and China). Trump hopes to bring North Korea into this orbit of non-belligerency. Once there, the US people will accept N. Korea's nuclear weapons as an unpleasant reality and Trump can extol the happiness of Trans-Pacific love.

  81. Trump is reactionary and has no long-term strategy.

  82. The photo of Don the Con shaking hands with 'Little Rocket Man' will live on with the picture of Neville Chamberlain holding the agreement with Hitler from Munich. The idiot in the Oval Office sold his soul for a picture, what a great 'deal maker'!

  83. @JTG Well characterized, JTG: As is appears evident to me, Trumpster hasn't read any history books nor studied political or economic events, he, as are his supporters, running down a dark alley without a clue what it will lead him to. Regardless of his political inclinations, Trumpster wants to play the demagogue role and cavort around with this totalitarian associates. He is the antithesis of the wise and prudent men who have occupied the POTUS office. I only hope that he may be held in check until the next POTUS election cycle and he may be disposed.

  84. Hasn't the media figured out that the 0.01% International Mafia Robber Baron/Radical religion Good Old Boys' Cabal is playing games with them? The Con Don didn't want to make any "deal" with Kim except to enlist him in the cabal , which includes supposed "strong men" Putin/Netanyahu/Ergodan/Duerte/Trump et al, in their attempt to take over OUR world. These are all little games, including Putin arresting a supposed U.S. spy. They all know what the others are doing, just as Hitler's strong man supporters/collaborators did. It's past time for the media and OUR law/justice department to shine a bright light on it and stop it. NOW.

  85. Did anybody really think Trump could break ground with NK? Seriously?

  86. This piece has to be mistaken. The leader of this country (who is a stable genius and an unmatched negotiater, which he has been willing to admit on numerous occasions) told me only a few months ago, "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea."

  87. Back where he started?? He never began, it was a photo-op which served strictly the purpose of Kim Jong-un and nothing more! In the two years that this child petulant president has occupied the WH,and even with a majority in BOTH houses, other than hand a massive tax cut to his wealthy friends and alienate long time allies, Trump along with his Republican enablers have accomplished absolutely NOTHING and this joke of a so-called "historic" summit is just one of his dozens of failures. The problem is, he is the only one that doesn't realize it.

  88. Kim and Trump Back at Square 1 [ Simply look at the state of relations between South and North Korea and it should be immediately clear that enormous strides towards peace on the peninsula have taken place. I am so happy about the progress and expect more. ]

  89. @Nancy The South fears that Trump will abandon them. He has mentioned on numerous occasions his desire to pull our troops out of South Korea. He repeatedly praised the murderous thug in the North. Trump has so rattled the South Koreans that they have been forced to deal with the North directly. This is progress?

  90. The relationship between NK and SK has not changed - sorry about that Kim is almost as good a con artist as Trump. But of course, not at the level of our very own lying Trump. Trump’s being played like the fool he is, unfortunately for us and the rest of the world.

  91. Anyone surprised by this? Trump the great deal maker got played like the fool he is. You think someone from NYC would see a con game like this a mile away. Of course Trump is a bigger conman than Kim, so there never was a “deal” and never will be one. Trump can’t see beyond is own nose, and ego and unfortunately the United States is weaker by the day. Vote America - the ignorance and incompetence in the White House with lying Trump sitting there (literally sitting there doing nothing) is breath taking.

  92. At least we don’t have nuclear armed madmen yelling at each other anymore.

  93. @Timothy Phillips Give them time.

  94. Back where he started from? Trump has made things worse from day one. I wouldn’t be surprised if North Korea has already been cutting deals to sell rouge nukes on the black market for cash, all right under his administration’s massively dysfunctional nose.

  95. Is anyone really surprised? The "master negotiator" has proven himself to be the fiction that he is, created by Mark Burnett. As usual, Trump gave away far more than he received. One of the gifts he gave to Kin was the cancellation of the joint US - South Korea war games. I will sleep better once he is out of the White House and into the Big House. Master Negotiator. Ha! Fool us once...

  96. Almost entirely by accident, Trump managed to open a dialog with Kim last year. Yet he squandered an opportunity to accomplish something significant because he never thought about the policy outcome, and has surrounded himself with people who have little experience in policy or diplomacy. Once Trump agreed to meet, Kim knew that he had the upper hand. He has just reminded Trump that he would be to one to dictate the terms. This article illustrates the shortcomings with mainstream media such as NYTimes, WaPo, and NPR. They are too ready to strike a conciliatory tone It cites increased dialog between the two Koreas as modest progress. Yes, South Korea has been sending more money and aid to the North. But North Korea has given up nothing and has not done anything to make the people to the South any more secure. News media should report things as they are - Trump has been played by Kim - and journalists should not be party to the PR campaign to hide the truth.

  97. The Honeymoon is over. Who could have guessed ??? Sad.

  98. 1. Trump has no long term strategy vis-a-vis NK. 2. Even if he had a well defined long term strategy, Trump has no idea how to negotiate with anyone, least of all NK. He is almost completely ignorant of North Korean politics, military capabilities, history, or anything else regarding the country. He knows nothing about Kim Jong-un. In addition, he cares very little about what his own advisers say, unless they slavishly agree with him. How would he know how to satisfy Kim Jong-un without violating US national interests? 3. Outside of banks, Trump has never had to work with another large organized entity like a nation-state. During his lifetime, his executive experience has consisted solely of clapping his hands and demanding "Do this!" from underlings, then firing those who don't do it the way quickly enough. International relations with nuclear-armed adversaries doesn't work that way. 4. Trump defines success as staged PR spots like the Singapore show meeting. It's all optics. In fact, Trump's whole presidency is optics.

  99. But, but, Donald said "He is in love with Chairman Kim."

  100. back to where he started. well that means he's still no worse than where Obama was. except trump has an agenda whereas Obama had none and was willing to just ignore the whole situation.

  101. The situation is far more complex and has improved, although improved is a silly word more suited for headlines and puff news articles like this rather than the realities of geopolitics. The two strategic objectives that can be considered as improved are that North Korea is now in the Yugoslavia position, where it is being coveted by the three powers (US, Russia and China) rather than being forced into the arms of China and the threat of nuclear attack against South Korea has been temporarily neutralized. That provides strategic benefits to our two allies in the Pacific, Japan and Taiwan. Anyone that thinks that the US is not re-positioning the entire world (Ethiopia) and all of its allies (see Israel) based on its new China policy shouldn't be writing articles at a respected newspaper. For more details read Matt Peterson's excellent profile on Robert Lighthizer at the Atlantic.

  102. The need is to carefully discuss the movement to peace on the Korean peninsula, a movement that is sorely necessary, but reading so many comments that resort to name-calling and derision makes it frightening to write in any encouraging way.

  103. Kim's long-term goals are reunification of the Korean peninsula under his leadership and security of that state from US interference. Kim has made substantial progress in achieving those goals through negotiations with Trump and it looks like he can make more. Trump has signaled he is willing to retreat from defense of S. Korea and, at the next summit, I expect Trump will agree to cancelling future joint military exercises with S. Korea and to begin withdrawing US forces from Korea. In return, Kim will again promise to work toward the goal of "denuclearization" and agree to not test more nuclear weapons. Trump will agree to some sanctions relief. Then, in about a year, Kim will complain about progress and threaten to go to another path and another summit will be scheduled and the process will be repeated. More concessions from Trump, more troop withdrawls, and only promises from Kim. The only question in Kim's mind is can he achieve all his goals - get the US out of Korea - before trump leaves office?

  104. @Horace or rather since the US doesn't really care who is in office in North Korea as long as South Korea is fine with them, they achieve their actual strategic objective of creating a pressure point on China they can use to maintain Taiwan's semi-sovereignty while Japan builds up its army. Or do you think once the US military forces leave the DMZ, they're going to go back home? Best

  105. Whether the goal is for NK to denuclearize or just suspend advances, in either case verification will be key. It is pointless to speculate about a future without an inspection plan.

  106. Kim is playing chess for survival while Trump plays tiddlywinks for show. Kim already got joint military exercises between the US and SK cancelled (shout out to Putin for convincing Trump that exercises were 'provocative'). Now we can't resume exercises without being the bad guys escalating tensions. Unfortunately, we have to acknowledge North Korea is a nuclear state and probably ICBM capable. As Obama warned, there were no easy solutions to the North's nuclear threat. But instead, the threat is only more established after two years of Trumpian incompetence. MAD will have to do for now. Meanwhile, full sanctions should continue and we should maintain strong relations with our regional allies. We should also keep a watchful eye and full diplomatic pressure on the Chinese and the Russians. They want us diminished and regionally impotent. But frankly, the biggest threat to world security and our standing is the incompetent US president. He's newly free of adult supervision and essentially untethered going into 2019. And the threat of irrational actions only increases as he faces the final stages of numerous investigations.

  107. Well, Trump can always turn off the North Korean internet like he promised during the campaign. The way he was able to build a wall and made Mexico pay for it. Oh wait...

  108. While visiting the Terra Cotta Warriors, I was having dinner at sidewalk cafe when 3 gentlemen motioned me over to their table. Two could speak very good English. The TCW are facing a sizeable hill and they are described by Marco Polo as being a map of the world with liquid mercury representing the major rivers and oceans. The Chinese of The Middle Kingdom had made very large 5 masted sailing vessels and had brought living samples of all major animals back to china including Lions, tigers and Hippo. They saw nothing that was worthy of further exploration. Why I asked did they not excavate the hill and see these wonderful treasures. Well the great leap forward had parted company with their past including except Chian, burning all the drum towers. The Chinese people are concerned about the potential of having another bunch of riots. While in Peking/Bejing, there were a lot of demonstrations in Ten Amin Square consisting of many people yelling but obviously under the control of their watchers. If N Korea does boil over and crosses the border, then the Chinese may elect to use this occasion to start a large riot. They are our friends who will keep NK from boiling over!

  109. Trump's foreign policy is a TV reality show where the goal is to show how he and he alone has solved all our international problem issues . Of course like Trump University these TV show have Trump cowering before Putin , MSB, Kim and other dictators his favorite form of government. Trump whose mental weaknesses are in constant view by our overseas adversaries and how easy it is to get over on him, just tell him how "pretty" he is and Trump gives away the store. No wonder Mattis resigned in disgust.

  110. how about we vote him off the island ... or better cancel the failing show mid season!

  111. I like what Trump did with North Korea:- the tone is certainly much better than it was before Trump got involved. I also think the position taken by North Korea in the negotiations is reasonable, for exactly the reasons stated in the article. They want to see improved relations before they shed their nukes, they don't want to become another Libya. Why insist on complete nuclear disarmament before lifting sanctions? America can always reimpose sanctions if NK doer not follow through, but NK cannot disarm then rearm if the US does not follow through on its promises. What has America got to lose by going along with this? Face? How much grief must America suffer while these situations drag on and on because some politician is afraid to make a decision that someone else might call soft?

  112. @gbc1 Correct me if I am mistaken but North Korea has said it will give up it’s nuclear weapons when America does. That will never happen but Mr. Trump has said we have a deal. Am I correct?

  113. Back at square 1? They never left square 1! Nobody with a brain was fooled by Trump's big showdown. Kim played him like a violin, the way every other opponent does. Trump's sheet music is printed right on the wrapper: adulation, celebration, empty promise, renege. It's child's play.

  114. @Barbyr Yeah that's a better way to put it. The fact that they phrase this statement as if he had made progress that was subsequently erased is still giving him too much credit.

  115. The Con Don is courting Kim - not trying to contain him. I just read a terrifying article in that Mike Pompeo attended the inaugaration of Brazil's new dictator leader. They are courting him, too, along with Putin, Netanyahu, Erdogan, Duerte and all the other supposed "strong man" leaders being put into office by the 0.1% International Mafia Robber Baron/Radical religion Good Old Boys' Cabal. They must be stopped before they can cause a catastrophic global financial meltdown and start WW3.

  116. Wait, didn't Trump tell as that he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for accomplishing total denuclearization of North Korea?

  117. @Paul-A Yep.

  118. @Paul-A Total denuclearization. A fools dream!

  119. trump = patsy He hasn’t learned how to negotiate He doesn’t understand that in geopolitics one side generally can’t force the other to its will His false statements are coming back to bite him

  120. The problem with publicity stunts, whether it's the subsidized jobs "saved" at Carrier or peace with North Korea, is that eventually, even the the most gullible person figures out they are just publicity stunts.

  121. @JR Still waiting for his backers to do as you say. Don't wait up!!!!

  122. If memory serves me correct,Trump indicated that if he could not close the deal on the nuclear threat from North Korea he would quit. Can someone get me the video on that one, so it can not be claimed as fake news. He needs to act on his promise.

  123. what other promise has he ever acted on?

  124. Actually , America is worse off vis. NK... Because now trump will never admit that there is anything but complete amity between Kim and America .. Thanks to trump ! Tough to negotiate when the president does not hold common ground with his own people !

  125. Actually, he's not back where he started; he's actually in a worse position now. By meeting with Kim, and getting nothing in return, he has given Kim international stature he didn't have before, and has given him an opening to split the US and ROK. Kim has his nukes and rockets, while Trump has nothing.

  126. Any "minor progress" on the relationship between the US and N Korea is from the liar-in-chief's backing down. He is the one from "fire and fury that the world has never seen" to "love letters". That seems to be the usual Trumps stuff - uttering nonsensical threats while pounding his chest followed by a back down and then mission accomplished statement.

  127. You folks haven’t been paying attention. Perhaps a year ago, President Trump announced that he had “fixed Korea.” I saw it on television. I remember him saying that he had fixed Korea and that we all (Americans) had him to thank for doing that. You guys need to keep up with current events. Korea is no longer a problem. Mr. Trump already fixed it!

  128. Trump got to scope out some hotel locations on those world class N Korean beaches. So he’s well ahead of the game.

  129. You mean drive-by diplomacy doesn't do the job? An orgy of mutual hypocrisy isn't diplomacy? Oh well, back to name-calling.

  130. What ever happened to the Nobel Peace prize? Maybe at the end of 2019 Trump, Putin, Crown Prince bin Salman, Xi, and Kim Jong-un can all share in it.

  131. the peace prize nom MIGHT come if he resigned & bought some peace to our nation

  132. Certainly there must be people slow-walking the DPRK negotiations within the Trump inner circle - one needn’t name the usual suspects- and Mr Kim is trying to revive Trump’s original interest in moving toward a wide-ranging and comprehensive agreement involving both the North and South Korea, and the US. North and South have been hard at it much of last year, with largely cosmetic and “good-faith” gestures, but nothing of any substance will ever be sorted without the full participation of this country. Mr Kim knows it, one must suspect that Trump knows it, but the latter’s attention span is so meagre that he forever requires constant reminders of dealing intensively with matters at hand. And with career obstructionists installed as Trump’s advisors and policy chiefs, why would anyone, including Mr Kim, be surprised at the seemingly lack of substantive progress?

  133. It's quite hard to make much of this issue when our government's actions are so opaque.

  134. Putting Trump and Kim together to solve anything more complex than finding the remote is a joke, just like Trump's self-described "great communicator" skills and those may-as-well-be-fake books on the shelf behind Kim. There was that brief moment when a few of us thought maybe, just maybe, Trump had managed to achieve something other than destroying Obama initiatives; that maybe Dennis Rodman's tears actually portended something positive for us and for the world. We were wrong. Surprised?

  135. I believe Kim knows exactly where the remote is.

  136. "President Trump finds himself essentially back where he was at the beginning in achieving the ambitious goal of getting Mr. Kim to relinquish his nuclear arsenal." Not quite. Kim Jong-un now knows how eager Trump is to cut a deal, how eager Trump is to declare a win, and how eager Trump is to meet again. Trump is putty in Kim Jong-un's hands. That is well behind where we were two years ago, before Trump entered office.

  137. What is necessary? What needs to happen? At what point are the citizens of our country entitled to some semblance of consistency in the behavior of our elected officials, and in the judgment of them by their peers? Specifically, can you imagine the outrage, the indignation, that would have been expressed by our Republican senators and congressmen if either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama had: - Claimed to have “fixed” the sixty-five year old unresolved problem on the Korean peninsula? - Falsely claimed to have achieved “significant progress” in denuclearizing North Korea? - Publicly announced that they had “fallen in love” with a ruthless totalitarian dictator? - Implied that they were deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize for having a conversation with another head of state, a conversation from which no tangible results emerged? As citizens, we Americans currently face many pressing concerns. The fact that our president is hopelessly incompetent is high on the list of problems in need of attention. It is equally disturbing that the GOP, and the leaders they’ve elected, have VERY different criteria for assessing the performance of a Democratic and a Republican president. It appears that our national Republican leaders expect and demand perfection from a Democratic president, but they are willing to silently nod and keep their mouths shut while watching a Republican nitwit make one embarrassingly unpresidential move after another. When does fair play enter into this business?

  138. Guess that big stick trump carried got whittled by Un behind his back. trump continues to deny he got taken for a ride. Great diplomacy from the dealmaker.

  139. Funny how photo-ops don't deliver the same results as actual negotiation in good faith. Who knew?

  140. You mean like under Clinton, Bush and Obama. this is 20 year old problem.

  141. Negotiations over nuclear weapons have never before been led by someone so ill equipped to do the negotiating. The art of the deal, indeed.

  142. Why would we ever think that Kim would, in effect, give up the weapons he worked so hard to acquire? He outwitted DJT and will continue to do so! Be ready for another war of words when the Mueller report comes out. DJT will want to deflect the findings and his handlers are fewer and weaker!

  143. Trump is likely thinking: “Who knew that dealing with North Korea would be so difficult?” Remember when the GOTP leaders were braying in unison that Obama needed to be impeach due to his “ineffective foreign policy?” The irony!

  144. While I understand the NYT is all Trump all the Time, the North Korea situation is in the same place it was when Bill Clinton was President. With the Major exception that a detant has emerged with South Korea under Trump.

  145. Except Trump claims he fixed it.

  146. Every expert on NK said this would happen. You don't have to be a master negotiator to figure out ot wasn't really a deal. But it helps to be master con man who has a loyal following

  147. @northeastsoccermum...How does it help?

  148. If by back at square one you mean that they're calling each an other names again, then yes they're at square one. However we now that's not true, so why is the NYT printing an article that infers that they are at the beginning? The problem with these two is that they're like children and have to have their own way. So don't look for any agreements in the near or far future.

  149. Mission Accomplished.

  150. Why peace in our time under Trump is not possible: 1. We could withdraw our 28,000 troops in S. Korea. We could withdraw troops from Japan and Okinawa (they want us out). But does anyone think for a moment US naval forces are going to leave the South Pacific to the Chinese? End of story. BTW, Guam is going nowhere. 2. US nuclear subs could position themselves at any time to hit N. Korea. Kim has no assurance he won't get whacked, and he knows it. He is asking for what he knows he won't get, so it looks like he isn't the bad guy. End of story. 3. N. Korea could be nuke-whacked by ICBM's from the US mainland or by strategic bombers refueling on the way over. More moot issues - see point 2 about not being the bad guy. 4. Can you see the US Senate ratifying a treaty to end the Korean War without complete denuking by N. Korea? No votes from at least Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio and probably Lisa Murkowski,Susan Collins, and Lamar Alexander, among others with veteran constituencies. No Nobel Prize for Trump - and hopefully no second term either.

  151. The New York Times: “Kim and Trump Back at Square 1” The Korea Times: “US-North Korea talks may gain fresh momentum” That was a concise summary of my “voice”. Pessimism vs cautious optimism. The article and most of the responders exhibit the Cold War Perspective of Korean Peninsula completely out of synch with feelings of the Korean people. The reality is that, for a variety of reasons, the Korean people want to be ‘together’ again. They may not have fully arrived at the steps to do that but they have the goal in mind.. North and South Korean military meetings have rattled the cold warriors. Both sides are taking off guard posts with the goal of Zero. Their military are crossing over the DMZ to verify the demolition of guard posts. This is level of advance they are having. They do not need US permission to do that! On the other hand, work is currently apace with reconnecting South Korea with the Trans-siberian via North Korea. US permission is required but with Japan behind in the project, US hemmed and hawed but seems to give in! With Mad Dog Mattis out of the picture and Bolton virtually sidelined the result, we hope, will be … Korean Peace & Unity 1 Cold War 0