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The Kim Jong-un and President Trump Summit

       6/4/2018

President Trump and Kim Jong-un

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

In early March 2018, South Korean officials advised that Kim Jong Un had extended an invitation to meet with President Donald Trump and had pledged that North Korea would refrain from nuclear testing. Prior to the invitation being extended, President Trump had indicated that he was open to talks and he would willingly meet with Kim when conditions were right.

This summit, which was originally scheduled for May 2018 and has since been pushed back to June 12th, 2018, marks an amazing shift in the relationship between the two nations. During the last year, both leaders have engaged in strong rhetoric against the other. Specifically, in August 2017 Trump had warned the Kim that “if pressed, the U.S. would unleash fire fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before”. Furthermore, Kim argued that the U.S. had “been very threatening beyond a normal state”. President Trump countered by stating; "North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,'" Trump tweeted. "Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

In May 2018, President Trump began to plant seeds of doubt as to whether the meeting would take place as North Korean officials threatened to cancel talks. President Trump indicated “If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later. You never know about deals. I’ve made a lot of deals,”. “You never really know. It may not work out for June 12th.” President Trump’s comments came after a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House. Later, after Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News Kim had “asked” for the meeting, North Korea’s vice foreign minister Choe Sun Hui accused the United States of “misleading the public opinion as if we have invited them to sit with us.” “We will neither beg the U.S. for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us,” Hui reportedly said.

Trump announced on May 24th, 2018 that he decided to pull out of the summit in an open letter to Kim, stating “I was very much looking forward to being there with you,” Trump wrote. “Sadly ... I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting.”. “I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only dialogue that matters,” Trump continued. “Someday, I look very much forward to meeting you.”

After receiving a personal letter from Kim by a North Korean official at the White House, President Trump announced that the June 12th, 2018 summit was back on and will be held in Singapore. Both countries while showing signs of optimism, share caution about the summit. The United States is wary that North Korea would actually scrap its nuclear program which they have attempted to build for the last few decades.

The last round of significant talks involving the U.S. and North Korea concluded in 2009. The so-called six-party talks, which involved the U.S., North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Russia and China, ended when North Korea walked out. North Korea forbids all forms of freedom of expression, political opposition or independent media. The country is currently suffering from a food crisis with mass undernourishment with many of its citizens starving to death. It is estimated that approximately 100,000-200,000 North Korean citizens are held in brutal prison camps. Torture, forced labor, and public execution are commonplace. A 2014 United Nations Commission of Inquiry report on human rights in North Korea found that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations committed by the government included murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortion, and other sexual violence and constituted crimes against humanity.

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