The meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un this week was nothing short of historic. No matter what side of the political spectrum you may fall on, the fact that the two leaders walked across a stage and shook hands is remarkable.

As recently as only a few months ago, they were launching salty insults across the Pacific Ocean at each other. It was, shall we say, and odd diplomatic strategy.

But then this happened. With as much hype as a world heavyweight boxing match, the two leaders came face-to-face on a heavily flag-decorated stage in Singapore.

The president earns his lumps — many self-inflicted, but after nearly 65 years of uneasy standoff along the 38th parallel separating North and South Korea, there might — and we say might — be something good afoot. For this, the president deserves a nod. It’s also worth recalling that both President Ronald Reagan and President Harry Truman shared a tendency for the unexpected, which yielded historic results.

North Korea is as broken as it gets. Millions of people starving while commerce steadily expands everywhere else around the region, and North Korea has been preoccupied with spending what little wealth it can muster creating a nuclear arsenal.

With all the glitz and glamour aside, what everyone wants is for North Korea to completely denuclearize itself before the world. In exchange, the world would slowly loosen the rope of economic sanctions methodically choking the life out of the North Korean economy.

And if history is any indicator, the nation under the thumb either negotiates a way out from under the sanctions or lashes out in an act of war as its final breaths approach. For the record, we’d prefer the former.

We temper our excitement because of the sheer volume of the unknown when dealing with Kim and Trump’s penchant for the unusual or unpredictable. But, then again, here we are with the president of the free world in direct talks with the world’s bad boy dictator.

We don’t know where this will go. We don’t know how long this may stay on the tracks. But what we do know is for the first time in nearly 65 years, something other than missiles and fingers are being pointed toward each other. And we’ll take that as a start.

• Leonard Woolsey

Leonard Woolsey: 409-683-5207; leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com

President & Publisher

(48) comments

Emile Pope

A photo-op that accomplished nothing. What did he get in writing? An agreement to do something in the sweet bye and bye with no deadlines or timetables isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. The only thing missing is Trump waving a piece of paper saying he’s guaranteed “peace in our time”. He did that on Twitter...

Carlos Ponce

Nothing, Emile?
The meeting is just the beginning. It accomplished more than any previous administration has done. The recovery and identification of bodies of American soldiers may be "nothing" to you but it means a lot to the families of those brave Americans.
"What did he get in writing?" So you didn't bother to look for it despite the numerous news sources? Apparently your hatred for Trump prevents you from searching.
"Full text of the U.S.-North Korea agreement signed by Trump, Kim
The document signed by the leaders pledges 'the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula'."
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/full-text-u-s-north-korea-agreement-signed-trump-kim-n882246

Emile Pope

Flowery words with no substance...

Carlos Ponce

"no substance"
Looks like Emile doesn't want the Korean war to end.
Looks like Emile doesn't want the denuclearization of North Korea.
Looks like Emile wants the North Korean people to continue their near starvation diet (with the exception of Kim Jung Un).
Looks like Emile likes the status quo.
Donald Trump sees the talks with cautious optimism.
Emile Pope sees the talks as a "photo op" and "flowery words with no substance". The eternal anti-Trump hater and pessimist.
The talks continue with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Let's see what happens.

Emile Pope

Wouldn't an anti-trump hater like trump?

Carlos Ponce

Place a comma after anti-Trump.

Emile Pope

Whether I like the "status quo" is irrelevant. Especially since it hasn't changed at all...Neville Chamberlain 2.0

Carlos Ponce

The status quo is unacceptable. No Neville Chamberlain here. The United States hasn't given up anything except the time spent on negotiation. Sanctions are still in place for now. War games taken off the military agenda. With progress they will not be held. And they can always resume if North Korea doesn't act in good faith. The next ones weren't scheduled until Spring 2019 anyway.
"All we are saying is give PEACE a chance." -John Lennon

Emile Pope

At the end of the day remember...President Obama got more from Iran than trump, got it in writing, with verification, didn't cost anything, and America didn't have to end war training just to get it...

Carlos Ponce

"didn't cost anything"
"US sent plane with $400 million in cash to Iran'
https://www.cnn.com/2016/08/03/politics/us-sends-plane-iran-400-million-cash/index.html
"Washington (CNN)-The Obama administration secretly arranged a plane delivery of $400 million in cash on the same day Iran released four American prisoners and formally implemented the nuclear deal, US officials confirmed Wednesday.
The $400 million was Iran's to start with, placed into a US-based trust fund to support American military equipment purchases in the 1970s. When the Shah was ousted by a 1979 popular uprising that led to the creation of the Islamic Republic, the US froze the trust fund. Iran has been fighting for a return of the funds through international courts since 1981."
That money was from the Shah of Iran days - a GOVERNMENT WHICH NO LONGER EXISTS!!!!!!!
The $400 million of euros, Swiss francs and other foreign currency was just an initial payment of 1.7 billion.
State Department spokesman John Kirby was asked at a press briefing: “In basic English, you’re saying you wouldn’t give them $400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?”
“That’s correct,” he replied.
Yet Obama denies it was "ransom".
And what did the current Iranian government do with the funds?
"Handel said the Obama administration admitted that nearly $2 billion flown to Iran is being used to fund terrorism and various supporting activities. She is more specific than the record supports. One way or another, the United States transferred $1.7 billion owed to Iran. As for what the administration admitted, [John] Kerry said it was likely that some portion of any money Iran received would go to its top security organization and some of that money would end up advancing terrorism."
http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2017/jun/06/karen-handel/Handel-pushes-details-Iran-deal-terror-support/
"I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) or of other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists. To some degree, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented. But I can tell you this: Right now, we are not seeing the early delivery of funds going to that kind of endeavor at this point in time. I’m sure at some point, some of it will." Secretary of State John Kerry on CNBC Squawkbox
https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/iran-nuclear-talks/kerry-acknowledges-skepticism-over-iran-deal-says-u-s-will-n501506

Emile Pope

Garbage. The money belonged to Iran. Our country had no right to it. Since it wasn't ours, we didn't pay anything by returning it.

Carlos Ponce

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ[sleeping]
Another nonsensical response from Emile. And he adds his usual inane "garbage".
John Kerry, Secretary of State under Obama during the deal knew the money would fund terrorism. (See above links) And the money was part of an arms deal with the Iranian government under the Shah of Iran which no longer existed when the deal was made.
We gave up nothing? WRONG. Barack Obama is responsible for funding Iranian terrorism under the current regime.

Emile Pope

The money didn't belong to us. It was theirs. What they decided to do with it was their business. What a ridiculous notion that we should be allowed to keep someone else's money because we think they might spend it in a way we don't like.

Carlos Ponce

Emile, if you gave (not returned) money to someone who then used that money to kill commit acts of terrorism, you would be in jail. The money belonged to the defunct Shah of Iran government, not the hoodlums who overthrew that government. The money should have been spent on the families of those that revolutionary regime held hostage. 52 American citizens held hostage for 444 days. But Emile doesn't care for them as long as the Iranian terrorists got their money. So sad![sad]

Jarvis Buckley

Emile- sometimes your comments are so mean spirited.

George Croix

Should have saved all that trouble with NK and just set a 'red line', then topped that with a very strict 'cut it out'.
Or at least get some rum, cigars, and baseball players like the Cuba 'deal' got us....

Amazing. If the Nobel prize winner were still around and had gotten the NK's to sit down and talk, the usual suspects would be swooning with joy.
Hypocrites and trolls.

Paula Flinn

The record for Kim and his family is not good. Promises have been made and broken many times before. But we should all hope, as Americans, that this time will be different and denuclearization and peace will be achieved. We need to be cautiously optimistic.

Steve Fouga

On the "Good-Bad" spectrum, I think we have to say this one is somewhere on the "Good" side. How far to the good? Too early to say.

One of President Trump's most useful phrases is "We'll see what happens." It definitely applies in this case.

George Croix

Precisely.
I see one of two situations here, neither of which makes us any worse off, and one makes us much better.
1) Kim is pulling the usual NK scam because he's,well, the usual type North Korean hereditary dictator...and hopes if he stalls long enough that the US 'resistance' will do to Pres. Trump what he can't.
2) Kim is afraid he's gonna be the first NK dictator to get his B-hind blown off or shot off by an American President or his own starving people, and figures to end run that and get some modernization of NK in the process. All for getting rid of nukes that are, right now, with a non-impotent speech maker President and a useless Sec. of State facing him head on, an even bigger danger to himself than to others.
IF it works out in our favor, Donald Trump should get a REAL Nobel Prize, one for actually doing something. What he WOULD get is more 'resistance' inane crap and insanity, and damned for not curing cancer in his spare time....[rolleyes][whistling]

Jarvis Buckley

Well said Paula👍

Paula Flinn

Thanks, Jarvis. 😊

George Croix

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/02/iran-nuclear-talks-timeline

March 2013 The US begins a series of secret talks with Iranian officials, which are kept from its partners in the P5+1.

June 2013 Hassan Rouhani is elected president of Iran. He is considered more moderate, pragmatic and willing to negotiate than Ahmadinejad.

September 2013 Obama telephones Rouhani, the first contact between leaders of the US and Iran since 1979. The phone call, as well as a meeting between the US secretary of state, John Kerry, and Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, a day earlier, is seen as the beginning of a new era of cooperation between the countries.

November 2013 Iran and the P5+1 reach an interim agreement, known as the . The agreement limits Iran’s nuclear programme. Production at the Arak heavy-water reactor ceases and Iran depletes much of its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium. and assets are unfrozen.

July 2014 Deadline for a comprehensive agreement to be reached between Iran and the P5+1. The deadline is not met and is extended to November 2014.

November 2014 Deadline is not met, and is extended to the end of June 2015, with the target of reaching a framework understanding by the end of March.

March 2015 World leaders meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, to finalise agreement.

2 April 2015 Iran and world powers announce framework deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief and commit to finalising a comprehensive deal by the end of June. Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief, describes the deal as a “decisive step”. Iranians celebrate in the streets at the prospect of a deal and the lifting of sanctions.

June 2015 Talks resume between the P5+1 and Iran in Vienna ahead of 30 June deadline.

30 June 2015 No deal is struck as the deadline looms. Diplomats suggest that the real deadline is 9 July, the latest the deal can go to US Congress if sanctions are to be lifted as quickly as Iran would hope. that he will walk away from a deal if Tehran does not stick to the outline agreed in April.

6 July 2015 Kerry says negotiations “could go either way”, 48 hours before the deadline for an agreement, as foreign ministers from the P5+1 meet again in Vienna.

8 July 2015 Talks are extended by three days amid disagreements over the lifting of an arms embargo, but western diplomats say they remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached by the end of the week.

10 July 2015 A senior member of the Iranian delegation criticises the P5+1, accusing them of putting forward multiple agreements and dragging their feet on a deal, after Kerry says there is “no rush” to conclude negotiations.

11 July 2015 The deadline to reach agreement is pushed back to Monday 13 July, the third extension in two weeks.

12 July 2015 President Rouhani says Iran has “managed to amaze the world” in the talks.

13 July 2015 The Iranian president’s office is forced to delete a premature tweet in his name that appears to welcome a nuclear agreement which has yet to materialise. Zarif tells journalists he is feeling “sleepy and overworked” as the new deadline is missed, but talks continue late into the night.

14 July 2015 After 17 days of almost uninterrupted negotiations, a historic deal is reached in Vienna. It brings to an end a 12-year stand-off and potentially marks the beginning of a new era in relations between Iran and the west. Attention turns to the US, where Barack Obama has promised to veto any attempt by Republican opponents to undermine the deal.


That's March 2013 to July 2015
That's 2 years and 4 months.

I think that's longer than what has so far taken place with NK.

Another difference is the Iran deal GUARANTEES that Iran would be able to go nuclear in several years...unless the Iranians suddenly decide they do not want to obliterate Isreal and 'The Great satan - us... and has enough money now and lifted sanctions on top of that to aid them in it.
The NK talks, ongoing, are a hope...a hope...for removing nukes, not assuring they are added, and the sanctions against NK are still in place, and war games maneuvers can be re-started at any time.

There it is.

Emile Pope

And now they can go nuclear now...

Carlos Ponce

"And now they [the Iranians] can go nuclear now..." Emile posts.
Which means they never stopped their nuclear program! If they did stop it would be years before they could "go nuclear". Thanks Emile for pointing out the fallacy of the Obama - Kerry - Iran deal.

Emile Pope

There was VERIFICATION in the nuclear deal or didn't you know? And INSPECTIONS. Where is your proof that Iran never stopped their nuclear program? Now they can begin to start their program instead of years into the future thanks to trump and over the objections of ALL of our allies...

Emile Pope

President Obama got a guarantee with inspection and verification. trump got a handshake and "hope". Even stole that from President Obama...

Carlos Ponce

"guarantee with inspection and verification"
Yes, Iran had "Self-inspection" built into the deal, no Americans on the International inspection team which had to give notice before "inspecting".
Read text of the "deal" here:
https://www.scribd.com/doc/271540181/Nuclear-Deal-Text
AND.......
From Politifact:
1. The deal aims to extend the time it would take for Iran to make a nuclear bomb.
2. Some of Iran’s major nuclear facilities will be subject to constant monitoring, but if international inspectors suspect violations elsewhere, they may have to wait as long as 24 days.
3. ‘Anywhere, anytime’ inspections were never really a goal.
4. As part of the agreement, the United States and other countries will lift economic sanctions against Iran on "Implementation Day" in 2016, allowing Iran access to billions of dollars.
5. If Iran slips up, the sanctions can come back, though not without problems.
6. Even if the United States were to reject the deal before implementation, the sanctions won’t work in the same way.
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2015/sep/08/politifact-sheet-6-things-know-about-iran-nuclear-/
Emile, the "DEAL" was never approved by Congress. Any deal Trump makes he insists on Congressional approval.
"Senator: Trump admin agrees Congress must approve any North Korea nuke deal"
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/north-korea/senator-trump-admin-agrees-congress-must-approve-any-north-korea-n880196

Emile Pope

Garbage. It wasn't "self inspection". The 24 day notice applied only to military installations and you cannot erase evidence of weapon production in 24 days. The "agreement with NK is only a handshake with no timetable or verification. It is nothing just like your arguments...

Carlos Ponce

Emile, your lack of knowledge is beyond comprehension. It was not a good deal. Did you BOTHER to read the terms of the deal? I provided the link. You provide "garbage".

Emile Pope

What timetable, verification, or inspection is included in the NK deal? Chamberlain got a better deal...

Carlos Ponce

It is apparent Emile has no earthly idea what is going on. Do you even bother to see the news? There is no deal yet. It is in the initial stages. The "deal" John Kerry made with Iran took YEARS. Talk about negotiation started January 21, 2009 after first inauguration with a letter sent to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and were not finalized until July 14, 2015. Do the math, Emile. It took over SIX YEARS. But so far, Trump has accomplished far more in getting back hostages, stopping North Korean testing, and the destruction of a missile testing facility. Yes, he's moving at a faster pace but not to the point where sanctions can be lifted.

Emile Pope

President Obama had a deal signed before he took a victory lap. trump is taking a victory lap without doing anything but having a photo op.

Carlos Ponce

Again, another "GARBAGE" response from Emile. No victory lap taken, not even metaphorically. Trump is cautiously optimistic. In his post-summit news conference he said, "I think he’s going to do these things. I may be wrong. I mean, I may stand before you in six months and say, 'Hey, I was wrong'.”
Doesn't sound like a victory lap to anyone with at least a modicum of intelligence.
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-the-transcript-of-trumps-press-conference-after-meeting-kim-jong-un-2018-06-12?mod=hp_minor_pos19

Emile Pope

He got nothing but they got us to stop military exercises with SK.

Carlos Ponce

Emile, the next military exercises weren't scheduled until the Spring of 2019. If Kim Jung Un isn't acting in good faith, we'll know before the New Year and they're BACK ON. This was just an initial talk. Be patient. All they did was outline goals.
Tell me how did Barack Obama's meeting with the Iranian Ayatollah went. Oh, that's right, he never talked with him.
Now please inform yourself on the FACTS before posting. You're getting boring.

Emile Pope

Your president is a bum who can't ever keep his word or accomplish what he says. Get over it...

Carlos Ponce

Emile, your lack of knowledge is evident. But keep your posts coming. If yours is the voice of opposition, Trump has nothing to worry about. He'll be re-elected and accomplish more.
Lower unemployment overall including Blacks, Hispanics, women.
More job openings than the number of unemployed.
Greater average take home pay.
etc., etc., etc. And the wins just keep on coming!

Emile Pope

Who cares about the unemployment rate!!! To sit there and say that the employment rate is the only thing that matters to people is ridiculous and insulting. What about profiling? What about hate crimes? What about police brutality? Guess none of that matters if the unemployment rate is down. You don't have the right to decide or opine about the happiness and well being of people you know nothing about...

Carlos Ponce

Emile posts: "Who cares about the unemployment rate!!! "
Keep posting, Emile. Your stuff is priceless!

George Croix

Troll

George Croix

The Democrat Party is certainly lucky to have the support it does.
[beam][beam][beam][beam]

George Croix

March 2013 to July 2015
Two years and 4 months (roughly 120 weeks) after initial talks started (in secret, rather than in the open like now so far...) and after a bribe to release hostages with a pallet of hard cash plus all existing sanctions dropped to close a 'legacy deal' with Iran, one in which they promised in writing to stop working on developing a nuclear bomb, for 10 years...
So far, the NK initial talks have been going for about 2 weeks (about 1.6% as long), yielding to date nothing official in writing, a word of mouth promise to give up all nukes but only words so far, sanctions still in place, no pallet of money paid out to get our hostages released, military still fully staffed to date, joint SK/USA drills suspended but can re-start at any time.
In 118 more weeks, we'll see what's happened.
Maybe nothing.
At least this time we are not paying a billion or so to be used to fund continued global terrorism.
No telling how many people will die from that...probably more than a few.
So far, nobody has died from an NK nuke.
Anybody want to guess what Iran WILL do, absent a change in power base, when they get their nuke in a decade post 'deal' (don't forget, ONLY the USA pulled out of 'the deal' - other countries are still in and 'verifying' and 'monitoring' - but the SANCTIONS were allowed by the Obama Admin. to be dropped by ALL to curry Iranian favor - so other than a promise and 'inspections' the only thing to stop the Iranians is their honesty......and we have always been able to count on our European allies to hold up their part of a deal and the Iranians to keep their word....[whistling]
The NK's have proven equally capable of mendacity in previous encounters, but they approached us in the open this time, not in secret talks, so, we'll see again....

Rather than false equivalency efforts, a bit of perspective would help.....

But, nnnooooooo.....
Nothing new there......
[beam][beam][beam][beam][beam][beam][beam][beam][beam]

Emile Pope

It was Iran's money. We had no right to keep it. Giving something back to the person who owns it isn't paying ransom. And now they can start their nuclear program now instead of the future. And they still kept the money. Good negotiating trump...

Carlos Ponce

" Giving something back to the person who owns it isn't paying ransom."
They did not give it back to the person who owns it. It belonged to the Shah's government which no longer exists. And I suppose the delivery of the ransom money secretly airlifted on pallets doesn't bother you. In Emile's world as long as Obama's imprimatur is is on the deal - IT MUST BE THE WILL OF GOD!!!!! Sorry Emile,but Obama's misdeeds are just coming to light. Don't be surprised when Obama's "statues" are toppled.

Emile Pope

There’s no such thing as the Shah’s government. What garbage. Was it President Obama’s government? It belonged to the government of Iran. And it wasn’t ransom. It was their money. Your arguments are getting weaker.

Carlos Ponce

Keep posting, Emile! The Shah's government existed when you were still in diapers. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was the Shah of Iran, named "Shahanshah" ("King of Kings"). He was essentially the Iranian government. The Shah of Iran ruled as a Constitutional Monarch with very broad powers. He was in charge of the military, the economy and ran the Secret Iranian Police (SAVAK). There was a Parliament, members whom the Shah appointed.
Ransom - you pay the kidnappers money, you get your hostages back. Yes, that's what happened. Calling it dog doesn't make it bark.

Emile Pope

Irrelevant. When you go to the bank to withdraw your money, the bank doesn't pay you. The money belonged to the Iranian government and we had no right to keep it.

Carlos Ponce

The Shah of Iran was the Iranian government.

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