Trump floats prospect of North Korean dialogue, but sets high bar to...

Trump floats prospect of North Korean dialogue, but sets high bar to entry

By Luke Vargas   
Published
President Trump delivers remarks to the National Assembly in South Korea. November 7, 2017. White House Photo / Shealah Craighead
President Trump delivers remarks to the National Assembly in South Korea. November 7, 2017. White House Photo / Shealah Craighead

President Trump addressed the South Korean national assembly on Wednesday and laid out his North Korea policy.

He began by highlighting the plight of those suffering under Kim Jung Un:

“An estimated 100,000 North Koreans suffer in gulags, toiling in forced labor, and enduring torture, starvation, rape, and murder on a constant basis.”

Cheon Seong-Whun spent 15 years working at South Korea’s Ministry of Unification and says highlighting the humanitarian suffering of North Koreans is a wise long-term strategy:

“Don’t forget, we are with you. They can have courage, so that when circumstances can be brave. If they believe they are backed up from the outside world, they can be more brave.”

But Trump didn’t offer a humanitarian aid package to those suffering in North Korea. Instead, he touted the wealth of South Korea in contrast to the poverty of the North, and said maybe Kim Jung Un would get the picture and abandon his country’s nuclear program.

“We will offer a path to a much better future. It begins with an end to the aggression of your regime, a stop to your development of ballistic missiles, and complete, verifiable, and total denuclearization.”

The White House says Trump’s comments signaled his belief in diplomacy, but Seong-Whun said Trump still, mistakenly, assumes North Korea would let .

A better option, he said, would be for the U.S. to view North Korea like the Soviet Union. That is, not a threat than can be dealt with overnight, but one that must be contained over the long haul, and targeted so as to cultivate the seed of its own destruction.

“Either overt, covert, official, unofficial – all sorts of exchanges and campaigns for providing information with the objective of changing domestic society.”

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