Trump declares an end to the North Korean nuclear threat

Win McNamee/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump taking questions after his summit with Kim Jong Un.
  • President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning declared an end to the North Korean nuclear threat.
  • Trump’s Tuesday meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un produced a wave of US concessions in exchange for vague, nonbinding promises from North Korea.
  • But it did also make nuclear war all but inconceivable at the present moment.
  • A North Korea expert with inside knowledge of the Trump administration agreed Tuesday that Trump had taken us back from the brink of war.

President Donald Trump started Wednesday morning by touting his biggest accomplishment in diplomacy with North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Un: all but eliminating the threat of nuclear war.

“Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!” Trump tweeted.

“Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea,” he continued. “President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight!”

Trump’s Tuesday meeting with Kim produced a wave of US concessions in exchange for vague, nonbinding promises from North Korea, but it did make nuclear war all but inconceivable at the present moment.

North Korea still has nuclear weapons. It has not given the US any information about them. It has resisted any practical efforts to get rid of them.

North Korea could begin giving up its weapons today if it wanted to, but it instead has insisted on staging performances of denuclearization rather than on inviting international inspectors to verify its progress.

Trump on Tuesday seemed fine with this, saying he thought Kim was being sincere. Typically, arms-control deals are verified by trained experts inspecting military and nuclear facilities.

But on Wednesday, the world nevertheless awoke to an undeniably reduced specter of nuclear war.

“Only five months ago, based on my conversations with this administration, I thought we were headed down an inexorable path toward a devastating war,” Victor Cha, who was considered for the role of US ambassador to South Korea for almost a year by the Trump administration before being passed over, wrote in The New York Times on Tuesday.

“Despite its many flaws,” Cha wrote, “the Singapore summit represents the start of a diplomatic process that takes us away from the brink of war.”

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