Ex-CIA analyst on risks of Trump-Kim talks
Former CIA analyst Sue Mi Terry says the biggest risk of the upcoming summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are the 'wildly different expectations' from the two sides
Produced by Ben Marino. Filmed and edited by Donell Newkirk Jr. Additional Footage Courtesy of Reuters and Getty.
SUE MI TERRY: So the biggest risk of this coming summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un is this very different expectations from both sides. United States is expecting North Korea is now going to denuclearise or commit to denuclearlisation. North Koreans are far from doing that. They said - when you hear what they're saying - they said, we are committed to denuclearlisation of the Korean peninsula if our regime security is protected or guaranteed.
There's a lot there. First off, the Korean peninsula means South Korea, US extended nuclear umbrella over South Korea. And for the Kim regime's security to be protected, what they're talking about, really, is concluding a peace treaty, getting the US forces off the Korean peninsula, and really the end of US-South Korea alliance.
So obviously, if we're not going to that - I don't think the US is prepared to do that - we're now talking about two very, very different things. So the expectations are wildly different. This is going to be one of the more - the big risk of the coming summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un.
I'm also concerned about this current problem of friction between US and China over trade is going to spill over to the North Korean issue. China is now less inclined to really press North Korea or implement sanctions or help the US out on North Korea because of the problems that China is now having with the United States over trade and tariffs and everything else. So this is all very complicated. Everybody's now expecting different things - US, China, and North Korea.
Well, they could potentially hit it off. I understand that Kim Jong Un is actually charismatic and charming in person, and I hear that about Mr Trump too. I can't verify that. But you know, they could even hit it off.
And the most idealistic scenario here is if they could agree on some grandiose statement or principle and let the low level officials work it out. So yes, we agree to denuclearization, we'll work towards normalising relations-- something grandiose, and they can sort of both walk away, say that's a win. They can spin it as a win, and then the lower level officials have to work it out. Of course, that's when the hard part would begin.
Well, North Korea made tremendous progress last year. First of all, since Kim Jong-un came to power, he conducted 90 missile tests and four nuclear tests including hydrogen bomb test. Last year, he tested three intercontinental ballistic missile tests that showed capability and capacity for a missile to reach all of the United States.
So the question really is, the last technical hurdle that North Korea has to cross, which is to show successful re-entry capability, to show that we put it all together and we can really bomb New York City or Washington with a nuclear weapon. So I'll say maybe North Korea is 90%, 95% done.
We know that Mike Pompeo-- when he was a director of CIA just a few weeks ago-- he said North Korea is within handful of months away from completing the nuclear programme, perfecting the nuclear arsenal. So whether it's handful of months or longer timeline, maybe a year or two, even, we know that just they have one more technical hurdle that they have to cross. So they are right there.
I am sure that Beijing, Pyongyang, and even our allies [? whole ?] are very sort of rattled by the appointment of John Bolton because everybody understands John Bolton's views, because they are not secret. He is prolific. He's written a lot. He gave a lot of interviews.
These views are known for a very long time. So because he-- Mr Bolton-- has very hawkish views on North Korea and Iran and Russia and a lot of countries, I'm sure it's not taken well. Particularly in North Korea, but also in China.