Blaming North Korea and China rather than his premature announcement in June that “There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea,” President Trump tweeted today that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would not visit North Korea as planned because of insufficient North Korean progress toward denuclearization. But Trump apparently did not want North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to take the snub too personally, for the president also tweeted “warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim.” Which seems to me to take diplomatic niceties a bit too far while turning away from the more difficult work of face-to-face negotiations.
Trump also said that he himself may visit his good friend Kim in the future, once China kowtows to the U.S. demands on trade and obeys Trump by putting more pressure on North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program. Trump may be waiting awhile.
Meanwhile, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is not waiting for Trump to make peace or launch a war. He has proposed new economic and diplomatic measures with North Korea and has called for officially ending the Korean War, which North Korea wants but the U.S. still refuses to do, even though there has been no actual “war” between North and South Korea for decades.
A meeting of the three nations, possibly including China, too, to officially end the “armistice” with a peace treaty may do much to coax North Korea to make more serious movement toward dismantling its nuclear arsenal; a peace treaty between the South and North would merely acknowledge what already exists, please both nations and cost the U.S. nothing. Of course, as always, reducing our own nuclear capability would also help ease tensions with both North Korea and Russia; for that we all will keep waiting.