In an interview with NBC News this week, Vice President Mike Pence said that the first summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would not be the last. In fact, the two leaders will meet again in 2019 and move forward on peace talks that will include the complete denuclearization of the reclusive dictatorship. In his remarks to the news outlet, Pence said that North Korea would have to bring more specific information to the table at the next summit, including a complete list of all its nukes and missile sites.
“I think it will be absolutely imperative in this next summit that we come away with a plan for identifying all of the weapons in question, identifying all the development sites, allowing for inspections of the sites and the plan for dismantling nuclear weapons,” Pence told NBC.
Speaking from Singapore, the site of the first historic summit between the two leaders, Pence said that while the U.S. was not entirely happy with the progress towards denuclearization since the first meeting, he was confident that progress would indeed be made.
“Everything begins with relationships,” he said, “but now we need to see results.”
That said, Pence insisted that North Korea’s decision to end missile testing and free U.S. hostages were both “tremendous” steps in the right direction.
Even so, Pence confirmed that the U.S. would not lift crushing economic sanctions against the regime until such a time that Kim produced a plan for denuclearization.
“Until we have a plan that is implemented to achieve complete, verifiable, irreversible, denuclearization, we’re going to keep the pressure on,” he said.
U.S. intelligence has gathered surveillance in recent weeks that has led some to doubt Kim’s commitment to the peace plan. In reports, officials have said that North Korea is playing a shell game with their missile development plants, moving them from here to there in an effort to escape satellite coverage and make it seem as though they are complying with the administration’s wishes. If at any time Trump determines that Kim is not levelling with him, we’re sure that a second summit can be canceled as easily as it can be scheduled.
However, even with North Korea’s history of deception always in the back of our minds, we can’t help but believe that Trump has done more to move this evil regime closer to denuclearization than any other president could have. Whether he will ultimately be successful or not will depend on Kim Jong Un, but no one will be able to say that Trump did not give it his best shot. Hopefully, Kim understands that he’ll never again get a chance like this one.