It seemed to happen overnight. When the Berlin Wall fell, it was as if it occurred out of the blue and it shocked the world how fast the Soviet Union fell. Better still was the peace that it brought. The same kind of exuberance is being felt in the Asian world as a lasting peace is on the brink of fruition with North Korea, the Washington Times has confirmed.
Saying that Kim Jong-un has “bowed to another Trump demand,” it has been established that the North Korean dictator “has released three U.S. citizens detained for years in his horrific prison camps.” When it is remembered how dreadfully harsh Otto Warmbier was treated in such an environment, they could be in very bad shape. But, U.S. leadership has said that it will not repeat the mistakes committed by past administrations.
Still, the fact that the prisoners are being released before the historic meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump is very telling. Even with N.K. “agreeing to a goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula to freeing the three Americans,” some of those who oppose the White House are accusing Mr. Trump of “winging it.”
While talks of a Nobel Peace Prize with Donald Trump’s name attached, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not want to oversell the progress, hopeful though he is. “We’re in the beginning stages of the work, and the outcome is certainly yet unknown,” he said.
As he was sworn in Wednesday to his new post, he added, “But one thing is certain: This administration will not repeat the mistakes of the past. Our eyes are wide open. It’s time to solve this once and for all. A bad deal is not an option.”
The former C.I.A. Director along with National Security Adviser John R. Bolton “got a stamp of approval from Joseph R. DeTrani, a former U.S. intelligence official who served as a special envoy to multilateral talks with North Korea in 2009.”
DeTrani said, “The team is there. I think the administration is well-prepared.” He also felt that Pompeo is “key to assisting” in Mr. Trump’s success.
The “Peace House” in the Demilitarized Zone will hold the talks no that “businessman Kim Dong-chul, and Pyongyang University workers Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang-duk, also known as Tony Kim” have been released from captivity. In April, the president said, “We are in there, and we are working very hard on that” in relation to getting the Americans freed.
Mr. Pompeo also was forceful in getting the men released when he met with the despot in face to face talks. Remembering Otto Warmbier, the fact that the Americans “were convalescing in a hotel outside Pyongyang” is very worrisome. It is said that their conditions have “improved,” which implies that at some point, it likely was horrid.
Kim Jong-un knows that if he returns anymore U.S. citizens in a state even close to Mr. Warmbier’s, talks could be in trouble. He could even face war crime charges as he works towards peace!
Kim still has them under his control, too. They are said to be “in a tourist program” and are expected to leave with Mr. Trump when the two leaders meet. “We believe that Mr. Trump can take them back on the day of the U.S.-North Korean summit, or he can send an envoy to take them back to the U.S. before the summit,” said Choi Sung-ryong, an activist who works for the good of the prisoners.
“The logic was, if we can just get the North Koreans to the 5-yard line in a negotiation, then we can pull them over the finish line,” said an unnamed government source. “Well, look where that strategy got us the last time around. Nowhere, and that’s why we’re in the situation we’re in today.”
However, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA) said, “This is an enormous gamble by a very unprepared president who’s been all over the lot on the subject of North Korea.” And, there are those who refuse to give Mr. Trump the credit and encouragement that he has earned. The same baseless accusations were hurled at President Ronald Reagan when he too worked for peace.