In recent days, various media reports have suggested that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un threatened to withdraw from his scheduled summit with President Donald Trump.
That threat was said to be based on Kim’s concerns over a potential “one-sided deal” related to denuclearization and the continuation of annual joint military training exercises in the region involving South Korean and U.S. forces.
But the threat hasn’t sat well with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former Trump critic who has transformed into a staunch supporter of the administration on foreign policy matters.
Graham offered up advice and a warning to Kim during a Wednesday appearance on Fox News, as noted by the Washington Examiner.
That warning essentially boiled down to informing Kim that “if you want to survive … you need to sit down with the president and do a deal giving up your nukes.”
Graham suggested it would be “crazy” for Kim to think he can keep developing intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads without Trump doing anything about it.
“That would probably work with Obama, but I’m here to tell North Korea that our president has drawn a red line. If you keep threatening the American homeland with a nuclear weapon, we’re going to destroy your regime. It’s that simple,” Graham stated.
“So if you want to survive, Kim Jong Un, you need to sit down with the president and do a deal giving up your nukes,” he warned. “In return, we’ll guarantee your security and end the Korean War.” (There would likely be other, more tangible rewards on the table as well.)
“If you keep doing what you’re doing, you are miscalculating Donald Trump. He’s not Obama. You do this at your own peril,” Graham continued.
“To those who are advising Kim Jong Un to continue down the path you’re going … bad advice,” he added.
It remains to be seen if Kim will heed this rather blunt warning from Graham and proceed to meet peacefully with Trump on June 12 in Singapore, as a lot can happen to change the calculations on both sides between now and then.
As for the alleged complaint from North Korea in regard to the annual military exercises, both the Trump administration and South Korea have made it clear that Kim is fully aware and accepting of the fact that those exercises will continue as planned and have no bearing on the scheduled meeting.
“Kim Jong Un had said previously that he understood the need and the utility of the United States and the Republic of Korea continuing in its joint exercises,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, who added that the exercises were perfectly legal and had been planned long in advance.
“We have not heard anything from that government or the government of South Korea to indicate that we would not continue conducting these exercises or that we would not continue planning for our meeting and President Trump and Kim Jong Un next month,” she added.
One might think that survival would be a key priority for Kim and his regime, and it is not difficult to imagine that reneging on his promise to sit down with Trump to discuss denuclearization would place that survival at great risk.
Unlike prior presidents, Trump is not the type of person to be humiliated, out-negotiated or upstaged by some nuclear-ambitious third-world dictator, and it would be a very poor decision on Kim’s part to think he could do such a thing and get away with it.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.