WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) — Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has voiced concern that U.S. President Donald Trump could give away major concessions to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at their next summit later this month.
In an interview with U.S. online magazine Salon, published Monday, Albright suggested that Trump’s ego could lead him to accept a deal with major repercussions for future administrations.
The two men are set to meet later this month in a bid to make progress on their June agreement to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees for Pyongyang.
“I think the hard part is, in terms of the next administration, I think it’s very hard to figure out what President Trump is promising,” said the former top U.S. diplomat, who served in the Bill Clinton administration from 1997-2001.
“I hope he doesn’t do something like say, ‘There will never be any exercises with our allies’ or promise to withdraw our troops from South Korea, or things that then have an effect,” she said, referring to the combined military exercises between South Korea and the U.S., and the 28,500 American troops that are stationed in the ally nation to deter North Korean aggression.
Trump suspended a major joint exercise after his first summit with Kim in Singapore, saying it was unhelpful to negotiations to denuclearize the regime.
Pyongyang has long condemned the exercises as an invasion rehearsal against the regime despite repeated assurances from Seoul and Washington that they are defensive in nature.
On concerns about a troop pullout, Trump told CBS in an interview aired Sunday that he has no such plans and has “never even discussed removing them.”
As secretary of state, Albright traveled to Pyongyang in 2000 and met with then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the current leader’s father.
She recalled that the elder Kim had told her that “he didn’t have any problems with us having our troops in South Korea.”
“I do think that what is worrisome to me is, in an effort to be flattered by Kim Jong-un, that he gives away something that might have a longer term effect for the next administration,” she said of Trump.
The Singapore summit should be characterized as a “Kim win,” rather than a “win-win,” according to Albright, who cited the cancellation of exercises and the lack of clarity on what North Korea gave up.
“They have not agreed to any kind of way of an inventory or international way of figuring out what they have and what denuclearization — which is what we are trying to get — what is the measurement of that, what’s going on,” she said.
Source: Yonhap News Agency