The talks between North Korea and the US that took place in Vietnam, aimed at getting the communist regime to give up its nuclear weapons, collapsed last week, reports The New York Times. North Korea rejected President Trump’s offer to “go big” and “trade all its nuclear weapons, material and facilities for an end to the American-led sanctions squeezing its economy”.
For its part, the US rejected a counter-offer from North Korea to dismantle one part of its nuclear programme in exchange for an end to the “most damaging” sanctions.
That may make it seem
like the last two years of negotiations has been wasted, says Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald, but Trump deserves credit for two things. Firstly, he has had the courage to admit that “all earlier US attempts to deal with North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme had failed” and so a new approach was worth a try. He also deserves credit for “breaking the cycle of escalation” – the result is that “neither side is currently moving to open warfare”.
Still, it’s hard to see how any further progress can be made, says Edward Luce in the Financial Times. There is talk of another summit, but the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “now has the global recognition he wants and can wait out the clock for Trump’s presidency to end”.
In any case, it’s questionable whether Trump “has the patience to, or the realistic possibility, of persuading Kim to do something he has no intention of doing”. Instead of pursuing the “chimera” of a North Korea-US peace deal, Trump would be better advised to pay more attention to the current “dangerous stand-off” between India and Pakistan.