World

Trump and Kim Jong Un Can't Agree on Who's Responsible for North Korea Peace Talks

In the lead-up to their historic meeting, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can’t agree over who should take responsibility for the peace talks.

Recently, both U.S. and South Korean officials suggested that Trump should take the credit for facilitating talks with the rogue regime. During a rally in Michigan in late April, Trump himself took credit for the talks while adoring fans chanted that he should receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

North Korea’s engagement with both the U.S. and South Korea has improved dramatically in recent months. Late last year, Trump and Kim were hurling insults at each other, and Pyongyang’s numerous missile and nuclear tests made it appear that North Korea was preparing to hit the U.S. with a nuclear strike. All of that suddenly changed after a North Korean delegation attended the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February, and after leaders from North and South Korea held a historic inter-Korean summit in late April, where they pledged to work toward the denuclearization of the peninsula.

“South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula,” leaders of both countries wrote in a joint statement following their meeting.

Trump is expected to meet with Kim in the coming month to discuss denuclearization, among other issues. Still, it appears that neither side can agree over who should take responsibility for these developments.

On Sunday, North Korean officials criticized claims that Trump’s tough stance and push for international sanctions against Pyongyang were responsible for bringing Kim to the negotiating table. Calling the claims “misleading,” North Korea’s foreign minister said that crediting Trump was a “dangerous attempt” to ruin the nascent peace on the Korean Peninsula, according to Korean state media.

"The U.S. is deliberately provoking the DPRK [North Korea] at the time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula is moving toward peace and reconciliation," the official said, according to North Korean press.

North Korea's leadership said Kim was responsible for the current progress. In reality, North Korea’s regime is desperate for international legitimacy and has long sought to hold a meeting with a U.S. president. Experts said the regime's willingness to discuss denuclearization, however, was likely due to a combination of South Korean and Chinese diplomacy, combined with the international sanctions Trump promoted. 

Editor's Pick