Trump makes plans to meet ‘Rocket Man’

DENUCLEARIZATION — Trump has repeatedly stated that he would only be able to sit down with North Korea after they make concrete steps to denuclearize. Their announcement to meet is a sign towards progress in the conversation. (Getty Images)


Both the United States and  North Korea have been using South Korea as a means  of communication since relations between the nations of  the Korean Peninsula sparked  throughout the winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. On March  8, 2018, both the White House  and South Korea released statements saying that President  Trump has accepted Kim Jong Un’s invitation to meet through  South Korean delegates, to officially discuss the potential for  denuclearization.

However, since the announcement, reports have  shown that this potential meeting is more tentative than actual.  North Korea has yet to respond to the Trump administration’s acceptance to the meeting. The meeting is still highly plausible, but any confirmation of times or dates have made the possibility slightly more unsure.

In a press conference on Thursday, White House press  secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “President Trump greatly appreciates the nice words of  the South Korean delegation and President Moon. He will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un at a place and time to be determined. We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all  sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.” The meeting  is partly due to the negotiations and communication of South  Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong. Chung has  said South Korea is “optimistic” about the meeting.

Trump, who has dabbled between openness to delegation  and more negative rhetoric towards Kim, i.e. his reference to  him as “Rocket Man,” explained that his decision is based purely  on his knowledge of Kim’s willingness to denuclearize. At 8  p.m. on Thursday, Trump tweeted: “Kim Jong Un talked about  denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing  by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being  made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!” The meeting will take place in May,  according to White House officials, but details of time and  place are yet to be determined.

The complicated relationship  between the U.S. and North Korea was sparked during the end  of World War II and has continued to present day. The tensions  have basically followed in accordance with tensions within the  Korean peninsula. South Korea declared independence in 1950  which led to North Korea’s invasion and the beginning of the  Korean War.

Although the war parted with an armistice-an agreement  made by both sides to end fighting-many scholars say that the  war never truly ended.

Since the ceasefire, the relationship between the U.S. has  been complicated with aggressive tactics and North Korea’s  continuous threat of nuclear  weapon development. The conversations that sparked between  North Korea and South Korea  prior to the 2018 Winter Olympic games were the first steps toward peaceful council the countries had seen in over a decade.  As the relationship within the peninsula has progressed, this meeting will allow the world to further analyze how much the  progress will translate into relations between the U.S. and  North Korea.

Sophia Vander Kooy ('20) is a political science and international studies major with an unofficial passion for taking creative writing classes. She was the Production Manager at the Anchor during the spring semester of 2020, and previously served as the Editor-in-Chief. She is also a member of the Women's Track and Cross Country teams at Hope, the STEP Community Outreach Student Director and the Co-President of Hope Yoga. Sophia loves writing, being outside, cooking, running and connecting with all kinds of people. She has found the space to be herself at The Anchor and knows that she is not alone in that.

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