So who was fooled? Let’s see a show of hands of anybody (other than Donald Trump) who actually believed Kim Jong Un, the little tyrant of North Korea, was serious about ushering in this great time of peace, standing shoulder to shoulder with President Trump and burying the nuclear hatchet?
Well, I hate to be the one to say “I told ya so,” but, you know, I did.
North Korea said it was ending talks with South Korea, and a confusing statement from the country's state news agency strongly suggested that the drills threatened the fate of the historic summit.
"The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities," North Korea's Korean Central News Agency said in a statement first reported by the Yonhap News Agency in South Korea.
“Intentional military provocation” is the term they’re using, as if this was a stick being poked directly into the eye of the Kim family.
When approached about the announcement out of North Korea, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert seemed to be unaware that there was a problem.
“We have not heard anything from [the North Korean government] or the government of South Korea to indicate that we would not continue conducting these exercises or that we would not continue planning for our meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un next month,” she said.
“What we have to go on is what Kim Jong Un had said before, that he understands and appreciates the importance to the United States of having these joint exercises.”
“We will continue to go ahead and plan the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un.”
On the one hand, it’s no surprise that North Korea would have such a reaction to continued military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea.
The Kim family operates on a hair trigger, as it is.
On the other hand, you wouldn’t be blamed for wondering if this was a deliberate attempt to test North Korea’s commitment to the unsteady peace being forged between them, their southern kin, and the U.S.
There’s some speculation that North Korea is attempting to bring an end to the exercises, even though they seemed ok with them, during those initial talks with South Korea and the U.S.
After a visit from new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, 3 Americans were released from North Korea detention. It looked as if the ice had been broken.
Pompeo stated they intended to go into the meetings with their eyes wide open.
“But we’re hopeful that this will be different, that we don’t do the traditional model, where they do something, and we give them a bunch of money, and then both sides walk away,” he added.
It’s not like they haven’t been pulling the same trick, over and over again.
We know the U.S. hopes to see North Korea completely dismantle their nuclear program. So what is North Korea’s motivation in all this?
In return, the U.S. would aid the North Korean economy by lifting sanctions and allowing private capital to flow into the country. Pompeo has emphasized that economic aid for North Korea would not come at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.
The meeting between North and South Korea was set for Wednesday, at a place called the Peace House, on the border between the two nations.
That’s not happening now.
It was meant to be a follow up to the April 27 meeting, where all the lovely photos of the two leaders stepping over the border were shot.
Where this goes from here may very well depend on Kim Jong Un’s hormone levels, from day to day.