by WorldTribune Staff, March 11, 2019
The failure of the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to produce an agreement has shaken the Kim dynasty to the point where the young dictator is “almost in a time out,” a U.S. envoy who was a key North Korea negotiator said.
“This is really bad news for Kim Jong-Un,” Joseph Yun, who served as U.S. Special Representative for North Korea from 2016 to 2018, told reporters in a round-table discussion on March 8 at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where he’s an adviser.
“The North Korean leader is not associated with failures,” Yun said. “There is no failure in their vocabulary for the leader. So, very bad news for Kim Jong-Un. It’s almost like he’s in a time out, you know?”
“He’s stuck, doesn’t have any sanctions relief,” Yun said. “He doesn’t know where this is going. So, I think this really does change the power dynamics of negotiations.”
Related: Inside North Korea
Yun, who played a role in opening nuclear diplomacy with the Kim regime, said the Trump-Kim summit was also “very bad news” for South Korean President Moon Jae-In.
Moon “had really banked on getting something out of it (the summit) to allow inter-Korean dialogue to deepen and this is a problem,” Yun said. “I think, on the day that the summit did not result in an agreement, the South Korean stock market fell by 2 percent, which seems, you know an overreaction.”
As for China, Yun said, “I think, you know, they’re more concentrated, obviously on the upcoming trade talks [with the Trump administration]. But I think this comes back to what they’ve been insisting to the U.S., which is, ‘Washington, you’re not going to make immediate huge progress, so do what we say.’ ”
For Japan, Yun said, “coming back to the traditional position is a good one. I would imagine prime Minister Abe is pretty happy.”
On March 8, North Korean state media for the first time acknowledged that the Feb. 28-29 summit in Hanoi had ended without an agreement.
After more than a week of general silence, Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Workers’ Party, published a commentary asserting that Washington was to blame for the fruitless meeting.
“The public at home and abroad that had hoped for success and good results from the second DPRK-U.S. summit in Hanoi are feeling regretful, blaming the U.S. for the summit that ended without an agreement,” said the commentary.
Reuters noted that Rodong went on to use fiery rhetoric toward Japan, accusing Tokyo of being “desperate to interrupt” relations between Pyongyang and Washington and of “applauding” the breakdown of the summit.
Yun told reporters there is no question that Kim, who pushed for a commitment of some form of sanctions relief from Trump, left Hanoi in frustration.
“He spent, what, 60 hours on the train riding down [from North Korea to Vietnam],” Yun said. “And then he had to spend two more days [after the summit] cooling his heels before riding back 60 hours. I mean, I certainly would not want to be his negotiator Kim Yong-Chol or, you know, anyone else riding the train with him for 60 hours.”