The Trump administration is considering accepting North Korea as a nuclear power after President Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-Un at the Demilitarized Zone over the weekend, The New York Times reports.
The administration is considering accepting a “nuclear freeze” in coming negotiations, essentially “tacitly” accepting North Korea as a nuclear power, which the administration previously said it would never stand for, according to the report.
Trump previously vowed to solve the North Korea nuclear problem within 30 months but is now considering accepting their nuclear capabilities because “it might provide him with a retort to campaign-season critics who say the North Korean dictator has been playing the American president brilliantly by giving him the visuals he craves while holding back on real concessions,” The Times reported.
The plan would not force the country to dismantle any existing weapons or limit their missile capability but could stop them from growing their arsenal, according to the report.
The report noted that the administration is still pushing for full denuclearization but realizes that the talks are going nowhere and are considering the nuclear freeze as a “significant -- but limited -- first step.”
Expert says Kim may go for it:
Sue Mi Terry, who served at the C.I.A. and the National Security Council under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, told The TImes that Kim may agree to the deal in exchange for sanctions relief.
“I do think Kim could offer just enough on the negotiating table, such as the Yongbyon nuclear facility plus yet another suspected nuclear facility, in order to secure an interim deal with Trump and at least some sanctions relief,” she said, adding that Kim “may calculate that this is still not a bad deal because it would allow the North to keep its nuclear and missile arsenal — and it would give Trump an opportunity to claim he had achieved something none of his predecessors had.”
John Bolton denies report:
National security adviser John Bolton denied the report on Twitter, claiming that neither the National Security Council staff nor he discussed the nuclear freeze plan.
“This was a reprehensible attempt by someone to box in the President. There should be consequences,” he wrote.
But Bolton was conspicuously absent from Trump’s trip to the DMZ. Instead, Trump brought another person he considers to be a trusted foreign policy adviser: Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Carlson also previously advised Trump on Iran, according to reports.