‘We must clear the way for professional diplomats to do their jobs’
President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un concluded their summit in Hanoi with no agreement outlining a further commitment toward denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. As the meeting ended abruptly and ahead of schedule on Thursday, Trump said Kim had not offered enough to justify lifting the sanctions and said they would stay in place. Trump also said he expected Kim would continue to put nuclear and missile testing on hold.
Cecili Thompson Williams, director of Beyond the Bomb, a people-powered campaign working to free our planet from nuclear violence, issued the following statement:
“The collapse of talks in Hanoi wasn’t a failure of diplomacy, it was an act of sabotage by National Security Advisor John Bolton. Springing last-minute demands on the North Koreans was a surefire way to collapse the talks. This was no accident.
“As long as John Bolton has the president’s ear, prospects for peace on the Korean peninsula are at risk. Bolton’s hostility to diplomacy can’t be overstated, and will remain a real obstacle to any negotiations moving forward. Bolton played a key role in unraveling a 1994 agreement to freeze North Korea’s nuclear program, and has devoted his career to torching arms control. He’s been on a killing spree in the nuclear arms control arena, and there’s no reason to expect he’ll have a come-to-Jesus moment any time soon.
“That Trump caved to his National Security Advisor and walked away from the negotiating table is one more reason to worry that this administration is utterly incapable of managing crises and confronting nuclear dangers. This is yet another debacle in a litany of dangerous errors from the Trump administration. From bucking the Iran nuclear deal, which unlike the Singapore declaration had real teeth and produced verified results; to pulling out of the INF Treaty and letting Russia off the hook for its violations; to going gangbusters on new, more usable nuclear weapons — we’re in trouble.”
“Though early in his administration Trump exacerbated the crisis on the Korean peninsula, the Hanoi summit was a real opportunity to take important steps toward peace and denuclearization. There may be future opportunities if we can counter the dangerous influence of men like John Bolton and clear the way for professional diplomats to do their jobs. But ultimately, it will be up to the American people to demand we stick to the saner course and not revert to nuclear brinkmanship.”