Frankly, I was astounded by the press coverage after President Trump’s historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Air Force One had not even left the ground in Singapore and the media drumbeat had begun.
The president, the talking heads, largely on CNN and MSNBC, stated that he “got nothing” but agreed to suspend joint U.S. military exercises with South Korea.
Actually, the president got very major concessions from North Korea.
But, in a testament to his deal-making abilities, he pocketed most of those wins before he even showed up for the summit.
New York Times liberal opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof summed up the establishment thinking on the summit, writing, “Trump was hoodwinked in Singapore.”
He continued: “Trump made a huge concession — the suspension of military exercises with South Korea. That’s on top of the broader concession of the summit meeting itself, security guarantees he gave North Korea and the legitimacy that the summit provides his counterpart, Kim Jong-un.”
The result of these “concessions,” according to Kristof, was that “Trump seems to have won astonishingly little.”
Trump’s detractors like Kristof ignore the obvious facts and major concessions he did win.
In early May, North Korea, without any conditions, released three American prisoners. (It should be noted that President Obama secured the release of U.S. hostages held in Iran only after the nuclear deal was signed and the U.S. made a $1.7 billion cash ransom payment to the regime.)
More remarkably, North Korea, without officially being asked by Washington, stopped all testing of nuclear devices and ballistic missile launches.
Remember just last year when North Korea detonated its first thermonuclear device and fired off several menacing volleys of ICBMs?
This has all stopped, thanks to President Trump’s “peace through strength” posture.
And there were more concessions.
When the summit appeared in doubt just over a month ago, North Korea destroyed a nuclear test site as a sign of good faith.
And, at the summit, Kim agreed to President Trump’s request to finally return the remains of American POWs and MIAs to bring closure to their families after 70 years.
The biggest concession has yet to be realized but for the first time Kim agreed in principle to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Donald Trump collected major concessions and gave away one small chip: the suspension of military exercises.
Trump is not naïve. If North Korea appears to be reneging on its promises, Trump can always order stepped-up U.S. military activities on the Korean peninsula.
At his post-summit press conference, he admitted that in six months he could look back and say he was wrong.
It is clear to me that North Korea wants to be accepted among civilized nations and Chairman Kim is desperately seeking to modernize his economy.
A source close to North Korean diplomatic circles recently told me that Pyongyang is anxious to get American businesses to open shop there.
The “official list,” apparently blessed by Chairman Kim, is seeking five U.S. businesses to open in his country: McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, KFC, and Starbucks.
In my opinion, the key for North Korea’s economic modernization is to follow the example of Russia and China.
Just as Gorbachev’s glasnost led to seismic changes in Russia and China embraced “reform and opening up” in the 1970s, Chairman Kim should first seek to normalize his country culturally and politically.
Steps he could take: Free all foreign detainees currently imprisoned in North Korea, including Japanese abductees. Stop improperly imprisoning foreigners. Open the country to the internet and foreign media. Allow students to study abroad. Permit religious freedom.
The path has been opened.
And rather than complain, the press here should be applauding our president, who has been extremely adept at how he has handled North Korea so far.
In his opening moves as president, Trump moved China away from serving as North Korea’s protector.
He then stepped up economic sanctions as he escalated U.S. military activity in the region.
And yes, he ratcheted up the “Rocket man” rhetoric.
Someday, Trump’s handling of North Korea may become a class textbook case of using legendary military strategist Sun Tzu’s approach.
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting,” Sun Tzu said.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO of Newsmax Media, Inc., one of the country's leading conservative news outlets. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
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