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Trump reaffirms 'big deal' for N. Korea's denuclearization

Trump reaffirms 'big deal' for N. Korea's denuclearization

Posted April. 13, 2019 07:54,   

Updated April. 13, 2019 07:54


At the latest South Korea-U.S. summit, U.S. President Donald Trump reaffirmed that he will continue to seek a "big deal" for North Korea's denuclearization, rather than pursuing small deals of splitting the denuclearization process. He also dismissed South Korea's proposal of resuming the inter-Korean industrial complex in the North Korean city of Kaesong and tours to the North's scenic Mt. Kumgang resort. He effectively rejected South Korean President Moon Jae-in's ambitious proposal of a "good enough deal" that calls for a compromise between Washington and Pyongyang. Former South Korean Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun call the outcome of the summit "no deal in Washington." However, some experts assess that the positive result is that the leaders of the two allies reached a consensus on addition U.S.-North Korea summits and inter-Korean summits.

During a question and answer session with the media before the summit with Moon on Thursday, Trump said that while he would support the resumption of the Kaesong Industrial Complex and the Mt. Kumgang tours, he did not believe it was the "right time" yet. Regarding President Moon's proposal of a small deal, Trump said, "At this moment, we’re talking about the big deal. The big deal is we have to get rid of the nuclear weapons."

The South Korean president called for a quick resumption of U.S.-North Korea dialogue, stressing the importance of giving the world a prospect that the third U.S.-North Korea summit will happen in the near future. "A third summit could happen," Trump said. "And it's step by step. It's not a fast process… If it goes fast, then it’s not the proper deal." He meant that a "proper deal" for a complete denuclearization is necessary, rather than Moon's proposal of a "good enough deal" based on compensations in accordance with denuclearization steps taken.

Trump also noted that he would provide assistance for the North if it abandons its nuclear weapons. Regarding the existing sanctions on the North, Trump said, "I think that sanctions right now are at a level that’s a fair level." He added that the sanctions will remain in place. The U.S. president also noted that he and Moon would be discussing potential increases in humanitarian aid, including food assistance, to the North, leaving rooms for dialogue with Pyongyang.

Sang-Jun Han alwaysj@donga.com