Foreign Policy Alliance Statement on the Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore and U.S.-North Korean Relations
President Donald Trump made history when he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June 2018 to discuss denuclearization and other issues between the U.S. and North Korea. FPA welcomes this potential thaw in U.S.-North Korean relations and encourages President Trump to continue to pursue peaceful engagement with the North Korean government. Further, we call on the Administration to avoid provocative actions which could be misinterpreted by the North Koreans and spark armed conflict.
The agreement signed by President Trump and Kim Jong-un is little more than a nonbinding commitment to improve relations between the two countries. Nothing of concrete substance was included in the joint statement. There is no timetable for denuclearization on the part of the DPRK. However, the most important result of the Singapore summit is that both sides have embarked on confidence building measures. The U.S. has suspended joint military maneuvers with South Korea; and North Korea has promised to return remains of U.S. service members killed in the Korean War. These are encouraging first steps on the path to a more substantial agreement.
FPA believes that if there is to be lasting peace on the Korean peninsula, the U.S. and North Korea must come to a comprehensive agreement. Elements of such an agreement include, but are not limited to: removing nuclear weapons located on the Korean peninsula, withdrawing military forces from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), and ultimately a reduction of conventional military forces on all sides.
FPA also believes that if President Trump is to arbitrate peace with the North Korean government, he needs to be consistent with his words and his actions. Recently, the Trump administration labeled North Korea as a “significant threat” despite President Trump’s claims to the contrary. Additionally, labeling North Korea as a national security threat undermines the progress made with North Korea at the Singapore summit.
Finally, FPA applauds President Trump for taking this first step toward a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. We encourage President Trump to consider additional confidence building measures through active diplomacy, economic engagement, cultural exchange, and full support of the normalization efforts begun under South Korean President Moon Jae In, which may prove to be the key element in finally resolving the Korean quandary.
FPA Board: Eric C. Botts, Bob Henschen, Allan Vogel, Joe Marcinkowski, Jeff Larson, Brian Reed, Bill Crosier