Trump wastes his hard work on North Korea with foolish sanctions waiver – Washington Examiner

President Trump is right to sideline North Korean human rights, right to flatter Kim Jong Un in their personal meetings, and right to pursue a grand bargain to end North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile-enabled nuclear threat. But all his efforts will go to waste if he copies South Korea and embraces a concession-based strategy towards Kim.

Sadly, that’s exactly what Trump did on Friday, in suspending sanctions that were about to be introduced on Kim’s regime.

It’s not just a mistaken action, it’s one with amazingly bad timing: As Trump gifted Kim this undeserved relief on Friday, Kim abruptly ended his participation at a North and South Korean forum. Kim’s action is designed to intimidate Seoul and break U.S.-South Korean alignment. Trump should have responded resolutely, at least ensuring that the now-canceled sanctions took effect.

Instead, as with his recent suspension of two major military exercises, Trump has again shown weakness to a dictator who revels in it. Trump’s action will have consequences.

After all, Kim hasn’t simply seen America blink again, his senior advisers have also seen it. For hardliners such as Kim’s top adviser Kim Yong Chol, this American decision is proof positive that the old game of intimidation will work with Trump. They will suggest Trump’s 2017 threats to use military force were fake news. They will cajole the young North Korean leader to keep avoiding that which is necessary to end this crisis: compromise.

Reaching a successful conclusion to the North Korean nuclear crisis became a lot harder today. Trump has done the opposite of what he rightly did at the two leaders recent summit in Vietnam. He has indirectly told Kim to keep playing hardball against the United States.

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