North Korea Summit Canceled: President Trump Called Their Bluff

President Trump Releases Letter to North Korea

In his letter to Kim Jong Un, President Trump states his disappointment with the way North Korean officials have acted. He referred to a statement in which Democratic People's Republic of Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui threatened to withdraw from the summit after heavily criticising the U.S. government, and saying that North Korea would not unilaterally dismantle their nuclear weaponry.

Calling Their Bluff

By calling North Korea’s bluff, President Trump maintains his firm-handed approach to diplomacy, which has proven to be a success not only with North Korea but around the world. China announced plans to satisfy U.S. concerns regarding their trade deficit in March after Trump threatened huge tariffs, while Canada and Mexico agreed to renegotiate NAFTA in 2017.

In his letter to Kim Jong Un, Trump stresses that the cancellation of the meeting is detrimental to the world, even hinting at his nuclear capabilities; yet he skillfully leaves them an opening, an option to apologize and arrange another summit. The message he sends is very clear: if North Korea behaves themselves, he will be fair to them, but he will never back down if they choose to escalate matters.

Apples And Oranges

This policy is in contrast to that of other U.S. leaders. In February, Trump slammed former presidents Obama and Bush for the inaction of their administrations, saying “The Bush administration did nothing,” and “The Obama administration wanted to do something. He told me it's the single biggest problem. They didn't do anything. It would have been much easier in those days than it is now”. He also criticised the Clinton administration in April of 2017 on similar grounds, noting that Clinton was “outplayed” by the DPRK.

Some critics argue that this approach has the possibility of escalating tensions and leading to war, yet no one can deny that it gets results; North Korea claims to have destroyed its nuclear testing facility, and satellite images seem to support this although there is no way to see into the tunnels below. Some experts believe that the site was damaged already, but nevertheless this represents a concession above and beyond what was achieved by previous negotiators.

The road to peace is a long and narrow one, but with President Trump at the helm, progress is being made faster than ever. It has been made clear to the DPRK that their only viable option is to cooperate, and that their threats which worked against previous governments will only make things worse for them. Electing an expert negotiator has shown itself to have been a great decision for America.

Kaya Yatsumi / Writer

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