More pressure from US.
Trump, Kim should keep up momentum for diplomacy
The U.S. is getting tougher on North Korea as the world awaits an announcement on where and when the U.S.-North Korea summit will take place.
There has been much media focus on the venue of the summit, with Trump even bringing up the possibility of the truce village of Panmunjeom, the site of the third inter-Korean summit on April 27. President Trump said last week the time and location were set. But a delayed announcement has triggered speculation the two countries were engaging in a last-minute tussle over key topics, such as North Korea's denuclearization.
The U.S. administration has lately used the term "permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement" (PVID). New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned PVID during his inauguration ceremony last week, underlining an "unprecedented opportunity to change the course of history on the Korean Peninsula."
"We are committed to the permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction program and to do so without delay,"Pompeo said. PVID is considered a tougher approach than the complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of North Korea's nuclear program that Washington had often used.
Also signaling a more hard-line approach, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said negotiations would also include North Korea's ballistic missiles as well as biological and chemical weapons programs and its abduction of foreign citizens. "Now, we've got other issues to discuss as well _ their ballistic missile programs, their biological and chemical weapons programs, their keeping of American hostages, the abduction of innocent Japanese and South Korean citizens over the years. So there's a lot to talk about," Bolton said during a recent interview with CBS.
In response to added pressure from Washington, Pyongyang slammed the U.S. for spoiling the mood for dialogue in a message by the foreign ministry spokesperson Sunday, saying Washington was distorting public opinion by claiming the Panmunjeom Declaration was a result of its sanctions and pressure. Pyongyang blamed the U.S. for arousing tension on the peninsula by continuing its pressure campaign until it completely gives up its nuclear program.
Amid the tension, President Moon Jae-in will meet with President Trump on May 22. Moon's role as a mediator between the U.S. and North Korea is crucial for narrowing their differences.
The leaders of the U.S. and North Korea should keep in mind that the entire world is expecting them to make a breakthrough deal for peace on the peninsula. They must keep up the rare momentum for diplomacy.