The highest ranking North Korean diplomat to ever defect says Kim Jong-un will never give up his nuclear weapons, but we already know that.
What's interesting is the former minister of North Korea's embassy in London says Kim Jong-un sees next week's summit as a chance to solidify the North's status, not a chance to negotiate for economic relief.
From the Associated Press:
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A former North Korean diplomat says leader Kim Jong Un has no intention of giving up his nuclear weapons and sees his upcoming second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump as a chance to cement his country’s status as a nuclear weapons state.
Thae Yong Ho, who defected to South Korea in 2016, said in a news conference in Seoul on Tuesday that next week’s meeting in Vietnam will be a failure if Trump can’t get Kim to declare he will abandon all of his nuclear facilities and weapons and return North Korea to the nuclear non-proliferation agreement.
This may not necessarily be a revelation because I think this was Kim Jong-un's goal for the first summit that took place in the summer of 2018.
And it worked, didn't it? Trump got to pretend he's a real president for a few hours and Kim Jong-un walked away with a thumbs up and all the legitimacy he could have ever hoped for.
Trump regime officials have already downplayed expectations for next week's summit which was announced with very little time to prepare for it. I can't see any reason to think the so-called "summit" will result in a substantive agreement. I expect Trump and Kim Jong-un will sign another piece of paper that does not amount to a real commitment. And both sides will claim victory.
In related news, Reuters reports that Kim Jong-un has sacked members of his diplomatic team and replaced them with young loyalists.
SEOUL (Reuters) - Veteran North Korean diplomats are being sidelined from nuclear talks ahead of a second summit with the United States as recent defections and allegations of spying undermine the trust of leader Kim Jong Un, South Korean officials and experts say.
Kim has purged and replaced many top diplomats and officials who served his father and grandfather with new, younger advisors as he gears up to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in Vietnam next week.