Few Americans know North Korea better than Bill Richardson, but the former New Mexico governor was just as shocked as you and me when he learned last week of President Donald Trump's plans to sit down face-to-face with the Hermit Kingdom's president, Kim Jong Un, to talk nuclear weapons. "After this meeting, there's going to be very little left of that diplomatic runway", he said. By the next day, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was insisting that North Korea would have to take "concrete and verifiable" steps toward denuclearization for the meeting to take place. The problem is they wouldn't be shooting off missiles in the meantime, and they're looking to de-nuke.
Since 1850, China has been hobbled by foreign occupations (European and then Japanese), by civil war between the Republic of China and the Chinese Communists, and by finally the turmoil of Mao-Zedong's Great Famine (1959-61) and then his Cultural Revolution.
"[The] leaders of North Korea, for a very long time, the Kim family, have wanted to meet face-to-face with a U.S. president".
Among the likely venue for the US-North Korea summit is the truce village of Panmunjeom located in the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone, where the two Koreas are to hold the third inter-Korean summit in April, the official said under the condition of anonymity.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog set up a specialist team last August to prepare for the possible restart of inspections, and so it could move quickly if an agreement were reached. That is a win for them.
Why has North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un suddenly invited President Trump to talks that include Korean denuclearization?!
"The expectation is that the talks would lead to a discussion around a conclusion that we're ready to engage in negotiations", a senior State Department official said on Friday. Had Obama agreed to such a session on these lax terms, he would have been vilified as an appeaser. The deal collapsed in 2009 when Pyongyang launched a rocket in defiance of international pressure and suspicions it was testing an inter-continental ballistic missile.
News of the impending summit reverberated through Korea in a surge of optimism and relief after months of non-stop escalation of North Korean threats and missile tests, countered by U.N. sanctions and rising rhetoric from the White House.
Some US officials and experts worry North Korea could buy time to build up and refine its nuclear arsenal if it drags out talks with Washington.
"He understands that the routine joint military exercises between Republic of Korea and the United States must continue".
They passed on a letter from the North Korean leader.
Todd, whom Trump derided throughout the campaign as "sleepy eyes Chuck Todd", responded to Mnuchin with a deadpan tone. He was also President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs for ten years until August 2017.
It's not Richard Nixon's opening to China.
State media have sought to downplay any implication that China is being marginalised, and reinforce the point that China has a vital part to play.
"You cannot have diplomacy without diplomats", she said, adding that "the danger is not being recognized by the Trump government". The letter specifically asks that Trump halt his increasingly reckless actions and statements on the North Korean nuclear issue. Trump has conducted his presidency like a TV reality show.
The whole episode is a departure from norms, but Trump could care less.