North Korea Summit Back on and North Korea May Have Agreed to Give up Some Nukes

FILE - In this March 7, 2018, file photo, people watch a TV screen showing images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, center, and U.S. President Donald Trump at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has always wanted to lead the diplomacy aimed at ending the North Korean nuclear crisis, even as he was overshadowed in his first year in office by a belligerent standoff between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. Korean letters on the screen read: "Thawing Korean Peninsula." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

FILE – In this March 7, 2018, file photo, people watch a TV screen showing images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, center, and U.S. President Donald Trump at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has always wanted to lead the diplomacy aimed at ending the North Korean nuclear crisis, even as he was overshadowed in his first year in office by a belligerent standoff between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. Korean letters on the screen read: “Thawing Korean Peninsula.” (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

 

So much about what is going on in the run-up to the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un is shrouded in a cloud of misinformation and disinformation. Just Friday, the New York Times ran a blatantly untrue story saying the White House thought the summit was impossible to pull off. Why did they do that? Because is supported two favorite media narratives: a) White House in disarray and b) Trump is a doofus.

Earlier today, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a phone call which, on its face, indicates the June 12 summit is back on track.

The most intriguing item, though, is being carried by a number of South Korean newspapers.

But it remains unclear if the U.S. team can convince Pyongyang to accept Washington’s demand that it ship up to 20 warheads overseas at an early date as part of measures to achieve a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.

The U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said North Korea has expressed reluctance to ship all of its nuclear weapons and missiles outside the country.

It is likely that North Korea has proposed shipping in advance certain types of missiles such as intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting the United States.

This demand is very plausible and very much in line with one negotiating position that has been made public:

As the date for the planned U.S.-North Korea summit quickly approaches, the United States is demanding that North Korea start to dismantle its nuclear warheads, nuclear materials and intercontinental ballistic missiles overseas and move them out of North Korea within the next six months, according to The Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper. An exact overseas location has not been disclosed.

Asahi Shimbun, citing “well-placed sources,” says that if the North Koreans agree to U.S. demands, the United States is prepared to remove the regime from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. The Trump administration added North Korea to the list of state sponsors in November 2017, after a nine-year “hiatus” when North Korea was off the list in October 2008, effective in 2009.

Shipping out the warheads is one of the ideas that was floated by the U.S. as a concrete, irreversible action that North Korea could take as a positive first step that would also be considered a confidence-building measure. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CBS News’ Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation” last weekthat North Korea would receive sanctions relief, should it follow through with “total” and “complete” denuclearization.

There are a couple of possibilities. One is that the story is total bullsh**. The other is that it is true but the main South Korean media are pretty much under government control and they’ve been told to dummy up:

Hanging in the background is the threat of enhanced US sanctions:

The U.S. decided to hold off on implementing a major new sanctions push against North Korea while it looks to revive a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month.

The White House was prepared to announce the ramped-up sanctions regime as soon as Tuesday but decided Monday to indefinitely delay the measures while talks with North Korea proceed, a U.S. official said, citing progress in efforts to repair diplomatic relations between Washington and Pyongyang.

The Treasury Department had prepared a package aimed at nearly three-dozen sanction targets, including Russian and Chinese entities, according to two administration officials. The actions were being readied in response to the recent aggressive rhetoric from Mr. Kim, which prompted Mr. Trump last week to abruptly cancel next month’s planned summit, before suggesting a day later that it was still a possibility.

The U.S. signaled last week it would turn its attention to strengthening the sanctions regime should summit talks fail. Senior administration officials say more sanctions are necessary to choke off foreign revenues keeping North Korea afloat and undermining Washington’s diplomatic leverage.

The average person would see the advantage of doing this, but if you are eaten up with Trump-hate, it might be lost on you:

IF…IF…IF North Korea did agree to give up part of its nuclear arsenal and its ICBMs, that would be a positive first step towards total denuclearization.