North Koreans didn’t show up for latest round of diplomatic talks


Donald Trump has already made a series of extraordinary concessions to North Korea, confident that his gifts to the rogue dictatorship will lead to its denuclearization. That fantasy appears to be unraveling, leaving the American president with nothing to show for his efforts.

The White House, naturally, doesn’t quite see it that way. Indeed, as far as Trump is concerned, he’s already delivered a major breakthrough: the president has said “thousands” of American parents who lost loved ones during the Korean War have asked him to bring home the remains of fallen troops, and Trump insists he’s doing exactly that.

“They have already done 200 people, which is so great,” the president boasted at a recent rally in Nevada.

That wasn’t entirely true. The State Department conceded soon after that we “have not yet physically received” the remains, though there was a meeting today to discuss the issue. How’d that go?

North Korean officials did not show up on Thursday for a meeting with Americans at the inter-Korean border to discuss the return of remains of United States soldiers killed in the Korean War, officials said. […]

Though American military officials went to Panmunjom for the meeting on Thursday, their North Korean counterparts did not, according to a United States defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. A South Korean government official, who also asked for anonymity, confirmed that the North Koreans had not shown up at Panmunjom.

So let’s recap what we’ve seen since Trump’s summit with Kim Jong-un. First, U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that North Korea has recently increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites. Second, formal talks between the countries went nowhere, culminating in North Korea’s foreign ministry accusing the Trump administration of making “unilateral and gangster-like” demands.

And third, North Koreans were a no-show at a meeting to discuss the return of American soldiers’ remains.

In fairness, the New York Timesreport on this added, “It was not clear whether the Americans had been deliberately stood up. Mr. Pompeo had cautioned that the date for the planned meeting at Panmunjom ‘could move by one day or two,’ indicating that the two sides had not settled all the details before he left Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, on Saturday.”

It’s therefore possible that there may yet be some progress on this front, even if Trump was premature in suggesting to the public that soldiers’ remains are already on their way home.

That said, can anyone seriously make the case that the president’s summit, which he hailed as a generational triumph, has produced any results for the United States?