It should come as no surprise that major news outlets around the world are covering the historic meeting between North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump with great interest. It is the first time in history an American president has met with a North Korean head of state, and by all accounts, the meeting went well.
But there also were several points of concern raised in light of the meeting. Let’s not forget: Kim Jong-un is one of the most brutal dictators on the planet. He has been known to summarily order the execution of high-ranking politicians if they cross him in any way – Kim once had five senior North Korean officials executed with anti-aircraft guns because they made false reports that “enraged” him. The tyrant has imprisoned and tortured millions of his own people and the human rights abuses that he has presided over are heinous. As for the Christians, well they meet in secret underground churches and live in constant fear of being shipped off to a concentration camp and worked to death.
“I just watched a completely clueless President proclaim a special bond with one of the most ruthless murderers in the world, whom he thinks is ‘a talented man’ who ‘loves his country,'” tweeted Naval War College professor Tom Nichols. “If I cringed any harder my spine would snap.”
Others are highly concerned about the lack of specific detail included in a joint agreement signed by both Kim and Trump. Many are concerned that the President has agreed to cease joint U.S.-South Korean military operations in exchange for a rather incomprehensive commitment from the North Koreans to denuclearize.
“It’s imperative that we actually get action here, not just photo ops,” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor this morning, according to the Guardian. He also pointed out that there were no details in Trump’s signed statement about the definition of “complete denuclearization.”
“Unfortunately the entire document is short on details,” Schumer added. “…It is worrisome, very worrisome, that this joint statement is so imprecise.”
“As negotiations now advance, there is only one acceptable final outcome: complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization,” House speaker Paul Ryan added in a statement. “We must always be clear that we are dealing with a brutal regime with a long history of deceit.”
Conservative pundit Erick Erickson was another who reacted with apprehension.
“The whole design of this is offensive. The President pees in the punch bowl of the G7, insists the Russians come back into the organization, then flies off to Singapore to make kissy face with a man who routinely murders his own people,” Erickson wrote at The Maven. “Had Barack Obama done that, Republicans would be demanding his impeachment. I generally think Donald Trump has run a pretty mature foreign policy that works for American interests. But this past week has been a diplomatic farce, and I suspect those generic ballot numbers that have had Democrats panicking are suddenly going to swing back in their direction.”
“He is very talented. Anybody who takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it, and run it tough — I don’t say ‘he was nice’ or I don’t say anything about it,” Trump said at a press conference after Tuesday’s meeting. The president added that Kim clearly “loves his country” — a bizarre remark, considering that the North Korean leader is known to be one of the most savage dictators on the planet. Christian persecution organization Open Doors lists the communist nation as the most persecuted nation on earth — authorities regularly lock up, torture and even execute believers.
“Open Doors estimates that around 70,000 Christians are interred in prison and labor camps, facing unimaginable torture, inhumane and degrading treatment purely because of their faith. The systematic persecution of Christians is just one of many heinous human rights violations perpetrated by the North Korean regime. If true change is to come to that country – and we hope it will – any further negotiations must confront the desperate human rights situation,” said Zoe Smith, head of advocacy at Open Doors UK and Ireland, according to Christian Today.
Trump did briefly address the plight of Christian in North Korea:
— Ben Kennedy (@BenKennedyTV) June 12, 2018
But one former North Korean who escaped from the communist nation is optimistic that the meeting will pave the way for a an increased level of freedom for the population.
“I hope that if there is economic advancement it will pave the way for more freedom for the people of North Korea, freedom of thought, opportunity and religion. I think this is likely to take 25 to 30 years but I also hope in light of Trump’s comments today it will be much quicker than that,” the anonymous man told Open Doors.
According to Open Doors USA, there are some 300,000 Christians living in North Korea, albeit under iron-fisted oppression.
(H/T: Christian Today)