U.S. reaffirms its ‘ironclad commitment’ to defend South Korea
WASHINGTON » President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis spoke on Saturday with their South Korean counterparts after the historic meeting between leaders of the two Koreas, and Trump said “things are going very well” as he prepares for an expected summit with the North’s Kim Jong Un.
Mattis and Defense Minister Song Young-moo said they were committed to “a diplomatic resolution that achieves complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” of the North, according to the Pentagon’s chief spokeswoman, Dana W. White. Mattis also reaffirmed “the ironclad U.S. commitment” to defend its ally “using the full spectrum of U.S. capabilities. “
Trump tweeted Saturday that he had “a long and very good talk” with President Moon Jae-in. He also said he updated Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, about “the ongoing negotiations” for an anticipated summit with Kim, tentatively scheduled for May or early June.
Moon and Kim have pledged to seek a formal end to the Korean War, fought from 1950 to 1953, by year’s end and to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons. Trump has said he’s looking forward to the meeting with Kim and that it “should be quite something.”
“Things are going very well, time and location of meeting with North Korea is being set,” Trump tweeted.
Trump is claiming credit for the Korean summit, but now faces a burden in helping turn the Korean leaders’ bold but vague vision for peace into reality after more than six decades of hostility.
Trump must contend with suspicions about his own suitability to conduct that kind of war-and-peace negotiation and succeed where his predecessors have failed, and whether Kim really is willing to give up the nuclear weapons his nation took decades acquiring.
“It is still unclear whether North Korea still believes that it can have its cake and eat it too,” said Victor Cha, who until January had been in the running to become Trump’s choice for ambassador to South Korea.
At a White House news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, Trump basked in the afterglow of the meeting between Kim and Moon, and said he has a responsibility to try to achieve peace and denuclearization.
“And if I can’t do it, it’ll be a very tough time for a lot of countries, and a lot of people. It’s certainly something that I hope I can do for the world,” he said.
Moon and Kim have not specified what steps would be taken to formally end the war or eliminate nuclear weapons. Now the pressure to deliver results, at least on the allies’ side, has shifted to Trump.
A man watches a TV screen in March showing file footages of U.S. President Donald Trump, right, South Korean President Moon Jaein, center, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South...