Here are six of the media’s biggest lies about North Korea:
1–Did North Korea end the negotiations in Hanoi because Trump refused to lift sanctions?
No. That’s not what happened at all. Kim Jong un made a serious offer to permanently halt all long-range rocket and nuclear tests and to “completely dismantle all the nuclear production facilities” at Yongbyon (the DPRK’s primary nuclear enrichment facility) in exchange for the partial lifting of sanctions that targeted North Korean civilians. Kim did not present his offer as an ironclad demand from which he was unwilling to budge, but as a starting point for discussions just as one would expect during negotiations. But the Trump team never seriously considered Kim’s offer, instead–at the advice of neocon warlord, John Bolton — the Trump delegation surprised Kim with a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum that included the “elimination of the DPRK’s “chemical and biological weapons, “their ballistic missile program” along with complete denuclearization. Bolton said that no sanctions would be lifted until this comprehensive disarmament plan was implemented and verified by Washington’s weapons inspectors. These unrelated demands were not part of previous discussions nor were they contained in the earlier agreements in Singapore. They were concocted with the clear intention of sabotaging the summit and ensuring that no agreement between the sides would be reached.
2–Has the Trump administration honored the agreement it made at the Singapore Summit?
No. On June 12, 2018 President Trump signed a joint declaration agreeing to the following:
- The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
- The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
- Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
- The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, walk together to their one-on-one bilateral meeting, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at the Capella Hotel in Singapore. (Official White House Photo by Stephanie Chasez)
While Kim has taken a number of steps to normalize US-DPRK relations (including the cessation of all ballistic missile and nuclear weapon tests, the destruction of one former nuclear testing site, returning the remains of 55 US servicemen who were killed during the Korean War back to US custody, removing mines from the DMZ, and actively engaging in cultural and economic projects with leaders in the South) the Trump administration has done absolutely nothing aside from terminating the provocative large-scale joint military exercises that are used as a rehearsal for invading the North and toppling the government in Pyongyang. Trump has made no effort to normalize relations or to create a “stable peace regime” on the peninsula.
Also, last Thursday, the US violated the Singapore agreement by launching another round of joint-military drills called “Dong Maeng” (which means “alliance” in Korean). While the maneuvers have been ignored by the western media, they were excoriated by North Korea’s state-run news agency KCNA which blasted the drills as a “threat… to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”
3–Did Kim Jong un agree to decommission his nuclear arsenal and end his ballistic missile program BEFORE the Trump administration eased sanctions?
Not a chance. On September 18, 2018: Kim met South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang where the the two leaders agreed to expand the “cessation of military hostilities”, advance economic, humanitarian and cultural cooperation and exchanges, pursue complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea committed to dismantle the Dongchang-ri missile engine test site (which it has done) and promised to take additional steps, like the dismantling of the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, if the United States “takes corresponding measures in accordance with the spirit of the June 12 US-DPRK Joint Statement.”
The promise of denuclearization was never a commitment to unilaterally disarm while the US did nothing. The North expected both sides to make reciprocal gestures in order to build confidence. Instead, the Trump administration tightened sanctions which increased Pyongyang’s distrust.
In any event, the original agreement implied a gradual disarmament after there was (a) an improvement in relations and (b) the building of “a lasting and stable peace regime.”
4–Did the Trump administration agree to a “phased” or gradual disarmament similar to what was hashed out in Singapore?
Yes. On January 31, 2019, Special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun said the administration was prepared to move step-by-step towards complete denuclearization in parallel with working towards peace in Korea and that it is willing to defer a complete declaration of North Korea’s nuclear assets. Here’s an excerpt of Biegun’s comments at Stanford University:
“We have communicated to our North Korean counterparts that we are prepared to pursue simultaneously and in parallel all of the commitments our two leaders made in their joint statement at Singapore last summer.
Biegun’s statement was made in January, 2019. But two months later– on March 7th, 2019 –the US State Department issued a statement which completely rejected Biegun’s policy. The statement read:
“Nobody in the administration advocates a step-by-step approach. In all cases, the expectation is a complete denuclearization of North Korea as a condition for all the other steps being — all the other steps being taken.” (State Department)
So, what does this mean? Did Trump deliberately mislead Kim about the administration’s demands or has Trump’s position simply hardened over time? Typically, negotiations are not a one-way street: “You give me everything I want, and maybe I’ll lift sanctions.” That’s not the way negotiations work. What Trump and his hardline advisors want is capitulation, the complete and unconditional surrender of Pyongyang to its American overlords. That’s a strategy that’s bound to fail.
5–Did the Trump administration lie about canceling joint military drills with South Korea?
Yes, but a spokesman for the US tried to minimize the offense by stating that the exercises were greatly “scaled-back” from the drills that had been scheduled. (Why would that matter?) Naturally, the North Korean state media responded angrily saying:
“It is a violent violation of the joint declarations and statements that North Korea reached with the U.S. and South Korea. This also represents a frontal challenge to the aim and desires of all [Korean] people and the international community for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”
6–Is Kim Jong un planning to break the commitments he made at Singapore by rebuilding his missile testing facilities so he can launch another ballistic missile?
No. The stories that have recently popped up in the media, suggesting that Kim is cheating on his prior agreements, are part of an elaborate and well-funded psychological operation (psy-ops) aimed at convincing the American people that Kim cannot be trusted. Some of these articles even invoke the specter of nuclear holocaust hoping to deter the administration from even considering future negotiations. The propaganda blitz has been hugely successful as a majority of Americans are only-too-eager to believe that Kim is the “brutal dictator” he is portrayed to be in the media (rather than another blameless target of Washington’s insatiable belligerence.) The Disobedient Media website has done some first-rate research and analysis on this latest fake news story (Kim’s “missile testing facilities”) Here are a few excerpts from one of the posts aptly titled: “The Media Is Lying About Construction At Sohae Launch Facility”, Disobedient Media:
“A March 8, 2019 report from National Public Radio (NPR) follows another by NBC News with sensational and misleading claims that satellite imagery released by private corporations with contractual ties to government defense and intelligence agencies show imminent preparations by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to engage in missile testing or the launch of a satellite from their facilities in Sanumdong, North Korea. An examination of the photos provided shows absolutely no indication of such activity……
(Repeat) there is absolutely no indication that several low resolution photos of a facility in North Korea have any activity in them outside of a few rusting vehicles that have sat without moving for some time….
NPR’s Sources Of Satellite Imagery Are Contractors For The CIA And Pentagon
The pervasive involvement of intelligence agencies and defense contractors in attempts to undermine negotiations with North Korea does not create confidence in the already shaky claims made by NPR regarding alleged preparations by the DPRK to participate in a missile launch. These contentions are not supported in substance by any tangible facts…..
Satellite Footage Of Sanumdong Facility Shows No Sign Of Imminent Launch…
NPR’s claims that the imagery shows “vehicle activity” occurring around the facility. Yet close inspection shows that the “activity” consists of a few inert vehicles, which appear to be a white pickup and white dump truck or flatbed parked in a permanent position next to piles of metal. The scene does not appear to be different from any number of sleepy yards of businesses that can be examined by members of the public on Google Maps….
NBC News Has Destroyed It’s Journalistic Integrity On North Korean Issues
The decision by NBC News to include a plethora of biased sources of analysis which appear to have intentionally been misrepresenting the nature of satellite footage of the DPRK’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station seriously calls their journalistic integrity into question. Their decision to represent satellite footage obtained from intelligence contractors and defense industry sources as “commercial” totally removes any remaining doubts that the recent reports of alleged North Korean activity after the breakdown of the Hanoi Summit are solely distributed with the intention of propagandizing not only the public but also President Trump himself. It is a pathetic effort to undermine the potential for peace and economic opportunity for the purpose of continued tensions that only benefit select special interests.”
“The Media Is Lying About Construction At Sohae Launch Facility”, Disobedient Media
These are excellent reports that should be read in full, but for our purposes, we’ll stop here.
Bottom line: The Trump administration deliberately sabotaged the Hanoi Summit, failed to honor its commitments under the terms of the Singapore Summit, lied about the termination of joint-military drills, did a complete 180 on its Special Envoy’s pledge for “phased disarmament”, and made no attempt to normalize US-DPRK relations or “build a lasting and stable peace regime.” On top of that, the media has launched another gigantic disinformation campaign aimed at garnering public support for tighter sanctions, more provocations, and war without end.
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This article was originally published on The Unz Review.
Mike Whitney is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Featured image is from Zoom in Korea