WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The U.S. and North Korea are expected to revive stalled negotiation talks after President Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea. “A lot of progress has been made. A lot of friendships have been made,” said President Trump.
Trump said meeting Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone is a key step toward restarting nuclear talks. Frank Aum from the United States Institute of Peace called it a sign of progress. “I think the two leaders are committed to diplomacy and are committed to reaching an agreement,” said Aum. “I think both sides will need to demonstrate some flexibility.”
But some critics, including Democratic presidential hopefuls, said it’s all for show and remain skeptical that North Korea will denuclearize. “They haven’t even abided by one of the commitments they made originally, which was to give an inventory of their nuclear stock pile,” said Julian Castro (D), a current presidential candidate and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama.
According to The New York Times, the White House may settle for allowing North Korea to keep their current nuclear capabilities as long as they aren’t developed any further. In a tweet, National Security Adviser John Bolton rejected the idea of a “nuclear freeze.” But Aum said it could be a good starting point.
“If you are looking from the perspective of John Bolton, who wants complete denuclearization upfront, then that certainly wouldn’t be enough,” Aum said. But again, I think we need to take this in a step-by-step fashion and get that first concession in terms of a freeze and then build from there.”
President Trump said talks could start within a few weeks.