The CNN report on North Korea
US news outlets and the Democratic Party “pounced” with a barrage of skepticism over nuclear negotiations with North Korea following the Nov. 12 release of a report by the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) claiming that the North continues to operate ballistic missile bases.
Coming amid a lull in North Korea-US dialogue after a second North Korea-US summit was pushed back to next year and high-level talks were once again postponed on Nov. 8, the report’s release has served to fuel skeptical arguments among the US government and public.
After the New York Times published an article on the report, other US news outlets printed their own reports claiming the details showed evidence contradicting US President Donald Trump’s announcement after the June 12 Singapore summit that North Korea no longer posed a nuclear threat. CNN quoted Lisa Collins, a CSIS researcher involved in the report’s drafting, as saying, “For North Korea watchers it has been pretty clear that the North has not been willing to give up its entire nuclear program.”
Jeffrey Lewis, a nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said that rather than breaking his promise, North Korean leader was actually keeping to his pledge to mass-produce nuclear weapons.
“Kim didn't dupe Trump. Trump duped himself,” Lewis was quoted as saying.
The Democrats, who captured a majority in the House of Representatives in the recent midterm election, made their own pick-up throw against the second North Korea-US summit. In a statement, Sen. Edward Markey, the Democrats’ ranking member of the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Trump was “getting played” by Kim Jong-un.
“We cannot have another summit with North Korea – not with President Trump, not with the Secretary of State [Mike Pompeo] – unless and until the Kim regime takes concrete, tangible actions to halt and roll back its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs,” he insisted in the statement.
When asked to comment on the press coverage of the report, the US State Department avoided specifics, stressing that Trump “has made clear that should Chairman Kim follow through on his commitments, including complete denuclearization and the elimination of ballistic missile programs, a much brighter future lies ahead for North Korea and its people.”
By Hwang Joon-bum, Washington correspondent
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