President Trump prides himself on negotiating savvy. But North Korea is trying to outfox him with a return to harsh public rhetoric immediately after the first overnight visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who came with press in tow.
- After last month's Singapore summit, Trump tweeted: "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. ... sleep well tonight!" He assured reporters: "[T]hat problem is largely solved." On Tuesday, he congratulated himself: "If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!"
- But then Pyongyang issued a statement accusing Pompeo of trying to jam them with denuclearization demands: "The U.S. is fatally mistaken if it went to the extent of regarding that [North Korea] would be compelled to accept, out of its patience, demands reflecting its gangster-like mindset."
A smart reading-between-the-lines of the North Korean statement comes from Vipin Narang, an MIT specialist on North Korean nukes, who tweeted:
- "This is not the end of the process. It’s a negotiating tactic, but signals several serious things: (1) We aren’t unilaterally disarming. Stop saying it. Stop asking for it. Never going to happen. (2) Any other stuff short of that? Gonna cost you chief. And burn a lot of clock."