Jack Block: North Korea

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block

A few months ago, did we ever think that direct talks between President Trump and Kim Jong Un to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula could ever happen? Of course, it hasn’t happened yet, but the process is moving that way.

After all the sabre rattling and confrontational back and forth, they are looking at late May or early June to meet. Keep in mind that North Korea has signed denuclearization agreements before and always broke the deal.

Up until now, our Presidents have refused to meet with the North Korean leader. An important step in the process that no one expected was a secret meeting between CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the North Korean leader in Pyongyang last month. Following that meeting, North Korea is saying it will indefinitely halt nuclear and missile tests and close its major nuclear test site.

The next step is that South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. They will have a lot of issues to discuss since they have been threatening each other for 40 years. President Moon Jae-in’s priority will be complete denuclearization.

If we keep moving forward, a month or two from now President Trump and Kim Jong Un will sit down across from each other to make a deal. If North Korea is unwilling to get rid of their nuclear weapons and put an end to their long range missile threats, President Trump will walk out. And then, what next? We don’t know.

North Korea has wanted a meeting with the President of the United States for many years. It looks like they are going to get it. They crave respect. I think North Korea has every reason to strike a deal. Our military threat and trade restrictions are choking their economy. Maybe they would like to become a respected member of the family of nations. Other Communist countries have changed their ways and are accepted. And beyond that, they are prospering. Look at China and Viet Nam. Look at the success of South Korea, while North Korea is a “basket case.”

Credit Donald Trump for his courageous outreach and our allies as we keep the pressure on.

John Block was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1981-1985, where he played a key role in the development of the 1985 Farm Bill.  If you would like to review his radio shows going back more than 20 years, visit johnblockreports.com.

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