When A Letter Shook The White House
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently received a letter from Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of North Korean Workers’ Party Kim Yong Chol. Immediately after receiving the letter, Pompeo met President Donald Trump at the Oval Office and the president called off his State Secretary’s scheduled trip to Pyongyang (on August 27).
In his letter, Kim wrote: “The US is still not ready to meet (North Korean) expectations in terms of taking a step forward to sign a peace treaty. The current negotiations are again at stake and may fall apart.” The letter also prompted President Trump to halt the US military exercises in the Korean Peninsula. Actually, he wanted to send a positive message to the North after receiving the letter. The president hinted that the US might hold fresh talks with North Korea to discuss all the outstanding issues.
The relation between Washington and Pyongyang improved a lot after the two leaders met in Singapore in June. After the Kim-Trump Summit, North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear programme and the two leaders showered praises on each other. Although Pyongyang claimed that it started dismantling its nuclear test site, a US intelligence report rubbished the claim. However, the official statements issued by the two parties on the North Korean nuclear programme didn’t affect the bilateral ties.
Pompeo was set to introduce newly-announced US Special Envoy Stephen Biegun to his North Korean counterpart in Pyongyang. President Trump – who cancelled the two US officials’ trip to North Korea – tweeted: “I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.” He said: “In the meantime, I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon!” However, the president did not explain why Pyongyang had asked Washington to work hard (in an attempt to ensure peace).
Kim & Trump
Meanwhile, Pyongyang has explained the Kim administration’s decision to send the letter to the US State Secretary, with the state-run daily saying that the US is plotting an invasion while talking with ‘smile on its face‘. Rodong Sinmun – the official mouthpiece of the ruling Workers’ Party – cited alleged US troop movements in the region (read Japan), calling it “extremely provocative and dangerous“. The daily also said that the US’ activities in the Peninsula threatened to derail the dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang. It further argued that the acts “prove that the US is hatching a criminal plot to unleash a war against the DPRK” in case Washington fails to achieve denuclearisation.
It’s time for the US to keep its promise and to restore peace in the Asia-Pacific region!
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