Over recent weeks, it’s been clear that negotiations on denuclearizing the Korean peninsula have hit a standstill, while rhetoric between North Korea and the United States has become more heated.
As officials traded barbs with each other, President Donald Trump tweeted over the weekend his hopes that dictator Kim Jong Un, whom he had met with in one-on-one (and unprecedented) meetings in years prior, would keep talks civil in the days ahead.
“Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way,” Trump wrote in a series of two tweets. “He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore. He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November.”
….with the U.S. Presidential Election in November. North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, has tremendous economic potential, but it must denuclearize as promised. NATO, China, Russia, Japan, and the entire world is unified on this issue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2019
A senior official within North Korea’s regime, who was involved in talks with the Trump administration, sharply rebuked Trump’s words.
“As (Trump) is such a heedless and erratic old man, the time when we cannot but call him a ‘dotard’ again may come,” Kim Yong Chol said in a statement.
The official contradicted a specific point in Trump’s Twitter diatribe. “Trump has too many things that he does not know about (North Korea). We have nothing more to lose,” he said, according to a report from HuffPost.
Although the two sides signed a nuclear pact with a loose, non-binding agreement to continue talks, negotiations broke down in February, with the U.S. delegation, including Trump, storming out of a meeting with Kim Jong Un in February 2018.
At the time, Trump claimed that negotiations broke down because Pyongyang wanted sanctions lifted that the administration just couldn’t remove without complete and total denuclearization.
“They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that. So we continue to work and we’ll see, but we had to walk away from that particular suggestion. We had to walk away from that,” Trump said, per reporting from CNBC.
Although the two sides continued to talk since that time, negotiations have largely stalled, with no new significant efforts or plans agreed upon for future denuclearization talks between the two leaders.