The Journal’s scoop on Sunday — with the White House saying that it had communicated with North Korea and gotten the “denuclearization” word it wanted — quickly veered into the notion that the U.S. and North Korea have very different ideas about that word. It’s a point many analysts have been making since the Korea Shock, Trump’s acceptance of a summit offer with the North, on March 8. But this point is lost in much of the news coverage and still isn’t widely understood by Americans.
Trump this morning said a summit may happen in May or early June. The definition of denuclearization didn’t come up.
On CBS’ “This Morning” show today, Gayle King said North Korea’s offer to talk about denuclearization was its first ever. How quickly the Six Party talks are forgotten. The Agreed Framework. There’s just so little historical understanding, even in elite newsrooms.
By late morning, the Post’s Anna Fifield filed a new story that tackles the issue in the lede and, perhaps more importantly, for both readers and other American media, in the headline:
North Korea’s definition of ‘denuclearization’ is very different from Trump’s
SEOUL — The White House is gearing up for President Trump to discuss denuclearization with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their much anticipated summit next month. But what does “denuclearization” mean?
It depends on whom you are asking. To some in Washington, “the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” as Trump tweeted late last month, means Kim handing over his nuclear weapons and missile systems and allowing international inspectors to check that the regime is keeping its word.
To Pyongyang, it means something very, very different. It means mutual steps to get rid of nuclear weapons, including requiring the United States to take down the nuclear umbrella it has put up over South Korea and Japan.
That is a difference in definition that could toll a death knell for the summit before it even starts.
Read the rest here.