North Korea and America’s second summit: no deal, no worries
North Korea keeps its nuclear weapons, and the US continues its sanctions.
HONOLULU - North Korea keeps its nuclear weapons, and the US continues its sanctions.
That’s the upshot of President Donald Trump's Vietnam summit with Kim Jong Un that ended Thursday with no joint agreement on nuclear disarmament or easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, after Kim insisted all US sanctions be lifted on his country.
What does that mean for Hawaii residents, who live in the state closest to North Korea- and have previously weathered threats against the U.S., most recently in 2017?
Waiahole resident Joyce Schlapper is glad to be with her friends at the Windward Y. When she's alone, she says, she's been thinking about the stalled US-North Korea talks that leave the hermit kingdom with its nuclear arsenal.
She's concerned North Korean leader Kim Jon Un will threaten to strike the US again. "There's always a possibility. I pray not. I have children and grandchildren. I don't want them to live in a world of sadness and death," she says.
In 2017, Kim said he wanted to launch a long-range ballistic missile capable of reaching the US, which sent this state's civil defense agency on high alert. At that time, Schlapper remembers, "I didn't take him seriously, but now that he's been in power for as long as he has been and has the weapons built up, you can never know what he's going to do."
Political analyst Dr. Denny Roy, an East-West Center senior fellow specializing in Northeast Asian affairs, assures her it's a low threat. "The danger of North Korea attacking Hawaii, with a missile or otherwise, was never great in my opinion, and certainly now, dormant," says Dr. Roy.
Dr. Roy says he was relieved Trump walked away from Thursday's talks. "There was a lot of worry Trump might be suckered into making a deal that would be poor for the US but good for North Korea, because [Trump] wants a quick win for whatever reason. But that didn't happen. The opposite happened," says Dr. Roy.
Should Trump have taken the deal on the table, of North Korea just dismantling its main facility? Dr. Roy says it's too remote to even speculate. "That is far, far into the future. It's almost science fiction to ask, 'What would the world be like if North Korea gave up its nuclear weapons?'"
While he says the US seems safe for now, Dr. Roy says this is when you might want to worry: "If the North Koreans start to test again, either nuclear explosions or long range missiles, then we might get back to 2017 when things were more dicey."