Schumer: Trump has given a ‘brutal and repressive dictatorship’ legitimacy
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday criticized a joint diplomatic statement released a few hours before from President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un as lacking detail and giving Kim too much room to back out.
Schumer said by meeting with Kim, Trump has given “a brutal and repressive dictatorship the international legitimacy it has long craved.”
“It is best not to dive in head first and hope for the best but rather to work slowly, transparently and verifiably to build trust and lock in concessions,” Schumer warned.
Schumer argued the agreement lacks detail on achieving a pathway to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, on how the United States may verify that North Korea has disarmed and on how to ensure that North Korea stops enriching plutonium and uranium.
“The document is short on details,” Schumer said. “As we have learned in the wake of the collapse of the 1994 and 2005 agreements, North Korea is liable to backtrack on vague commitments as soon as it’s in their interest.”
Schumer argued that Kim has “a history” of backing out of agreements and raised concern that the North Korean leader may not make any further concession now that he scored the public relations coup of meeting with a U.S. president as an equal on the international stage.
“It is worrisome, very worrisome, that this joint statement is so imprecise,” he added.
Schumer said he was also very troubled by Trump agreeing to suspend joint military exercises with South Korea, the United States’s longtime ally.
Schumer defended those exercises as legal and said they were given up for the “mere hope” that North Korea will freeze its “illegal nuclear testing regime.”
He also faulted Trump for labeling joint military exercises with South Korea as “very provocative,” adopting North Korea’s language.
Schumer’s critique echoed what many Democratic lawmakers and officials have said in the hours following the summit.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday said in a statement that Trump gave Kim concessions in return for “vague promises” without a “clear and comprehensive pathway to denuclearization and non-proliferation.”
Justin Wise contributed.
–Updated at 11:48 a.m.