Trump: U.S.-North Korea summit ‘should have been done a long time ago’

President Trump speaks at a news conference, April 18, 2018. (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Trump boasted that North Korea has already made several key concessions before his anticipated meeting with Kim Jong Un — whereas the United States has forfeited nothing.

On Twitter Sunday morning, Trump admonished Chuck Todd, moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” for voicing reservations about the anticipated U.S.-North Korea summit. Trump said only time would tell whether or not his efforts will be successful but insisted previous administrations had failed to act and he was doing what “should have been done a long time ago.”

Trump’s claim that North Korea has agreed to denuclearize is incorrect. In fact, whether North Korea would be willing to forfeit its nuclear arsenal remains perhaps the most important issue.

Kim’s central message has been that developing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles will enable him to deter enemy nations. His government’s propaganda vilifies the United States as an imperialist power and insists nuclear weapons are essential to safeguarding North Korea’s national sovereignty. The recent acceleration of North Korea’s weapons program is a cause of deep concern for U.S. allies in the region like Japan.

Trump’s tweets after Todd questioned the preconditions behind Trump’s planned summit with Kim, expected to take place in several weeks. Earlier Sunday morning on “Today,” Todd was skeptical of Kim’s supposed willingness to cooperate with the U.S.

“He seems to be giving very little but making it seem like he’s giving a lot. And he’s giving off a tone of cooperation. Look, the tone in itself is a positive development. As a diplomatic overture, the U.S. would look terrible if they didn’t accept that kind of overture and at least continue the conversation,” Todd said.

Nevertheless, he continued, the United States hasn’t asked for many preconditions ahead of this potentially historic summit — yet the North Koreans have already gotten a lot.

“What has the United States gotten yet? We don’t have a release of any of those Americans that they held captive. We don’t have a pledge of denuclearization as the ultimate goal,” Todd said. “There’s a lot of things they are not promising that is raising some red flags.”

Kim announced Saturday in a broadcast on the Korean Central News Agency, the government’s news agency, that the nation would stop testing nuclear weapons and launching intercontinental ballistic missiles. He also announced the closure of a nuclear testing site in the northern region of the country.

This announcement was Kim’s opening move for setting the tone for his scheduled meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next Friday and with Trump in late May or early June. Trump swiftly responded on Twitter.

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