Former special envoy defends Trump’s North Korea visit: ‘He did get something back’


Former special envoy Joseph Detrani on Wednesday said President Trump’s recent meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) has led to meaningful results on the negotiations front.

Detrani, who was special envoy for the six-party talks with North Korea under former President George W. Bush, said Trump secured a commitment that will help jumpstart denuclearization talks.

“He did get something back — he got a commitment from Kim Jong Un that we would now commence with working-level negotiations,” Detrani told Hill.TV. “That means all negotiators will come together and talk about complete verifiable denuclearization. The key now is to get all negotiators to sit down and talk about is there a path to getting complete verifiable denuclearization.”

Detrani advised the administration to move forward with talks with North Korea “immediately.”

“We shouldn’t be waiting six months before negotiators sit down,” he told Hill.TV. “We shouldn’t be waiting six months before they start can talking about, ‘What do we mean by denuclearization?’ In fact, that’s offensive.”

Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to step foot on North Korean soil when he met with Kim. Several top Democrats and former security officials, however, have criticized Trump’s visit as nothing more than a photo opportunity.

After Trump’s visit to North Korea over the weekend, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the meeting “one of the worst few days in American foreign policy.”

Schumer also criticized Trump for calling Kim a “friend” before the country has made any concessions on nuclear weapons development.

“They have more nuclear bombs than they’ve had in the past. They are a danger to the United States and he pats the guy on the back and gets nothing in return,” Schumer told CNN on Monday.

Trump has stood by his surprise meeting with Kim, later tweeting a photo of himself stepping into North Korea.

—Tess Bonn

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