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Trump says meeting with Kim may not happen

“There are certain conditions we want and I think we’ll get those conditions and if we don’t, we don’t have the meeting,” President Trump said today, suggesting that his scheduled meeting with Kim Jong-un may not move ahead.

He made the comments during a meeting with South Korean president Moon Jae-in at the White House.

“Frankly, it has the chance to be a great, great meeting for North Korea and a great meeting for the world,” Trump said. “If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later. Maybe it will happen at a different time.”

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “The president is ready if the meeting takes place. And if it doesn’t, we will continue the maximum pressure campaign that has been ongoing.”

When asked about the threat on Wednesday, President Trump said, “We’ll have to see what happens.”

Kim Jong-Un cancelled a scheduled meeting with South Korean officials on May 10th and threatened to call off his highly expected meeting with President Trump in June over ongoing US-South Korean military exercises.

“This exercise targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea, is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula,” The Korean Central News Agency said.

The military exercises are scheduled to continue for two weeks.

“We believe there is a 99.9 percent chance the North Korea-U.S. summit will be held as scheduled,” said Chung Eui-yong, chief of South Korea’s National Security Office, to reporters on Tuesday, May 22. “We’re just preparing for many different possibilities.”

When asked if officials had begun feeling doubts about whether the meeting will take place, Chung said, “During phone calls between our two leaders or talks between our National Security COuncils, I never got such an impression.”

President Trump announced on May 10th that he will meet with Kim in Singapore in June.

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Topic
Once a joke, North Korea's cyber program has grown into a global criminal enterprise

US and British officials say North Korean government-led hacking operations stole an upwards of $1 billion in 2017. Besides serving as a lifeline to the country’s crippled economy, North Korea’s 6,000 hackers are used as an arm of the government’s propaganda wing, targeting international outlets like Sony Pictures for mocking the image of Kim Jong-Un. Analysts say that hacking is the perfect weapon for the cash-strapped Kim dictatorship.

“You could argue that they have one of the most successful cyberprograms on the planet, not because it’s technically sophisticated, but because it has achieved all of their aims at very low cost,” Chris Inglis, a US Security expert, said at a conference earlier this year.

Perhaps most famous recent spat between North Korea and the outside world was the hacking of Sony Pictures in 2014, and Sony’s decision to cancel the release of a movie making fun of Kim Jong-Un.

Some believe was instigated by North Korea in response to the upcoming release of The Interview, a comedy that made fun of the country.

(Add more to this story)

Topic
North Korea and the United States

Few political relationships in history have been as fraught as the one between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States – decades of sanctions, posturing, and the looming threat of the North’s nuclear program has made renewed conflict a constant possibility.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “The president is ready if the meeting takes place. And if it doesn’t, we will continue the maximum pressure campaign that has been ongoing.”

When asked about the threat on Wednesday, President Trump said, “We’ll have to see what happens.”

Myanmar: President Obama lifted most sanctions against Myanmar in 2015. Since then, lorem ispum dolor. At the same time the country underwent its first democratic elections, the military led a crackdown against Muslim and Christian minority groups.

Cuba: Since reestablishing diplomatic relations in 2015, relations have not improved between the US and Cuba. Lorem ispum dolor. The United States recently accused Cuba of attacking the US Embassy in Havana with “an acoustic device” that sickened 22 US Diplomats.

Iran: The United States formally began easing sanctions on Iran after the 2015 nuclear deal. President Trump pulled out of the deal last week. Analysts worry that this move will antagonize his efforts to broker peace with North Korea.

Kim Jong-Un cancelled a scheduled meeting with South Korean officials on May 10th and threatened to call off his highly expected meeting with President Trump in June over ongoing US-South Korean military exercises.

“This exercise targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea, is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula,” The Korean Central News Agency said.

The military exercises are scheduled to continue for two weeks.

The US’s State Sponsors of Terror list, which imposes strict sanctions on designated countries, currently lists Iran, Syria, Sudan and North Korea. It was originally drafted in 1979. North Korea has a storied history as a member:

On

North Korea was first put on the list in 1988 because, among other actions, it:

  • Carried out an assassination attempt against then-South Korean president Chun Doo-hwan in Rangoon, Burma in October, 1983. It is known as the Rangoon bombing. 21 people died.
  • Bombed a passenger flight between Baghdad and Seoul in November, 1987. 115 people died.

Off

President George W. Bush removed North Korea from the list in 2008.

Back on

President Trump re-added North Korea in November, 2017. Below are some events leading up to Trump’s decision to re-add the county:

  • The alleged state-sponsored murder of Un’s half brother, Kim Jong-nam. Nam was poisoned with the nerve agent VX in Malaysia.
  • The North Korean government launched a missile that flew directly over Hokkaido, Japan in August, 2017.

Mike Pompeo suggested that American companies could operate in North Korea if peace talks lead to denuclearization.

During President Trump’s visit to the State Department, Pompeo reiterated the claim that the North must dismantle its nuclear program.

“We are committed to the permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program and to do so without delay,” Pompeo said.

“There are certain conditions we want and I think we’ll get those conditions and if we don’t, we don’t have the meeting,” President Trump said today, suggesting that his scheduled meeting with Kim Jong-un may not move ahead.

He made the comments during a meeting with South Korean president Moon Jae-in at the White House.

“Frankly, it has the chance to be a great, great meeting for North Korea and a great meeting for the world,” Trump said. “If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later. Maybe it will happen at a different time.”

“We believe there is a 99.9 percent chance the North Korea-U.S. summit will be held as scheduled,” said Chung Eui-yong, chief of South Korea’s National Security Office, to reporters on Tuesday, May 22. “We’re just preparing for many different possibilities.”

When asked if officials had begun feeling doubts about whether the meeting will take place, Chung said, “During phone calls between our two leaders or talks between our National Security COuncils, I never got such an impression.”

President Trump announced on May 10th that he will meet with Kim in Singapore in June.

Topic
Before it became the Hermit Kingdom, North Korea cultivated a vast underground network

Why did Kathleen Cleaver, the wife of a high ranking member of the Black Panther Party (BPP), give birth in Pyongyang, North Korea?

“Today, the DPRK is an earthly paradise, with an advanced socialist system, highly developed technology, a brilliant national culture and a healthy people,” her husband, Eldridge Cleaver, wrote after visiting North Korea in 1969.

The relationship between the BPP and the DRPK, cultivated during Eldridge’s time in Algeria, is one example of Kim Il-Sung’s vast global outreach efforts during the Cold War that put his country in contact with Puerto Rican separatists, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and other subversive groups.

Topic
The story behind North Korea's nuclear program

Countries that are a part of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons:

  1. United States
  2. Russia
  3. United Kingdom
  4. France
  5. China

Countries that aren’t:

  1. India
  2. Israel
  3. Pakistan

Countries that disarmed:

  1. South Africa
  2. Belarus
  3. Kazakhstan
  4. Ukraine

Countries we’re not sure about:

  1. Iran
  2. North Korea
Topic
North Korea honed the use of hostages as bargain chips for decades

President Trump spoke with the parents of Otto Warmbier on Friday, May 4 to express his condolences for their son’s death.

The prisoners were released at the end of SoS Mike Pompeo’s most recent visit to Pyongyang on May 9, 2018.

The three prisoners were greeted by Trump at Andres Air Force Base in the early morning hours of May 10.

“I want to thank Kim Jong-un,” Trump said to reporters on the tarmac. “I think he wants to do something and bring that country into the real world.”

“We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the people of the United States for bringing us home,” the three said in a joint statement released by The State Department.

Kim Dong-Chul, a naturalized American citizen in his mid-60s, was detained in 2015. His status was unknown until a CNN crew interviewed him in Pyongyang in January, 2016. He was put on trial later that Spring for espionage and charged to ten years hard labor.

Tony Kim, a 59-year-old professor living in China, taught at Yanbian University of Science and Technology, near the North Korea border. He also taught at times at the university’s sister school, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST). He was detained in the airport on his way to the United States on April 22, 2017. He was accused of “Acts of hostility.”

Kim Hak-Song, an agriculture consultant, was also affiliated with PUST. He was detained two weeks after Tony Kim was arrested.

North Korea Peace Negotiations
Primer
  • North Korea is a small nation near China, Japan, and Russia. It has lived under the Kim family dictatorship since 1948.
  • North and South Korea, historically one country, were partitioned by the US and Soviet Union at the end of WWII. The US supported a Princeton-educated Korean activist named Synghman Rhee in the South, and the Soviet Union installed communist guerilla Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang.
  • The US-led UN coalition fought the North Korean and Chinese armies in the Korean War (1950-1953), which ended in a stalemate. Tensions have been high ever since.
  • Following the disolution the Soviet Union, North Korea plummeted into famine. Since then, China has become its main trade partner.
  • Kim Jong-Il began the North's nuclear program as a defense against the prospect of US or South Korean invasion. Kim Jong-Un claims that the nuclear program he inherited is the country's best defense against potential Western intervention.
The negotiators
US President Donald Trump may do the impossible-- broker peace on the Korean Peninsula
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John Bolton, Trump's National Security Advisor, has argued for preemptive strikes against North Korea and Iran
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Kim Jong Un is North Korea's 33-year-old leader.

He is the grandson of Kim Il-Sun, the DPRK’s founder.

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Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State

Pompeo made headlines recently after becoming the highest level US official to visit North Korea in decades.

Pompeo is the 70th Secretary of State. His predecessor, Rex Tillerson, was fired by President Trump in March.

Pompeo was Director of the CIA from 2017 to 2018. He was nominated by President Trump.

Before that, he served in Congress from 2011 to 2017 in Kansas’s 4th District.

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Moon Jae-In stands to do what no other South Korean leader has ever done-- broker peace
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Xi Jinping is the president of China

Xi Jinping is at the heart of the peace negotiations between North Korea and the West. As leader of China, he inherited the country’s historical position as the North’s main trade partner since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

What Xi decides to do (or not do) will have large ramifications for Korea and the United States.

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Historical figures
Douglas MacArthur led United Nations forces against North Korea in the Korean War
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USSR leader Joseph Stalin installed Kim Il-Sung to power in the North
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Kim Il-Sung was the founder of the People's Democratic Republic of Korea

Kim Il-Sung was the first leader of North Korea after the Korean War.

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Kim Jong-Il oversaw the launch of the North's nuclear and cyberpower programs
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Mao Zedong sent Chinese soldiers into the Korean Peninsula during the Korean War
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