North Korea's provocation level has dimmed, US commander says

Ros Krasny and Alan Levin | Bloomberg | Washington, United States

Jakarta, posted: Sun, July 22, 2018 | 07:50 pm

US President Donald Trump (2nd R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) sign documents as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) and the North Korean leader's sister Kim Yo Jong (L) look on at a signing ceremony during their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un became on June 12 the first sitting US and North Korean leaders to meet, shake hands and negotiate to end a decades-old nuclear stand-off.(AFP/Saul Loeb)

North Korea’s level of provocation toward the US changed months before President Donald Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un, said the commander of US forces in Korea.

“We’ve gone now 235 days without a provocation, so we saw a big change occur after the 29th of November missile launch,” General Vincent Brooks, Commander, US Forces Korea, said Saturday via video link to the Aspen Security Forum.

“Since that time, we’ve seen indeed, a change of at least the approach,” Brooks said. “To be sure, the physical threats and capabilities are still in place. But it’s evident through words and action that the intent to use them has changed.”

Brooks said the challenge now is to continue to make progress with North Korea, and said that the level of diplomacy is “like tulips blooming in the spring,” with abundant channels of communication now open on the Korean peninsula. Trump met North Korea’s leader in Singapore in June.

As posturing continues, there needs to be sufficient room for US diplomats, especially Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, to maneuver toward the outcomes the US wants to achieve, Brooks said. Other countries in the region will be maneuvering and posturing too, he said.

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