15 June 2018   Leave a comment

The history of negotiations with North Korea on the question of nuclear weapons is very long and complicated.  Denuclearization was agreed upon in the “Agreed Framework” that North Korea signed with the US in 1994 under the Clinton Administration.  Since that time, each side has accused the other of breaking agreements and of negotiating in bad faith.  Most of those breakdowns have occurred because each side had different interpretations of the meanings of specific terms in the agreements.  That history was one of the reasons why the P5+1 negotiated an excruciatingly detailed agreement with Iran called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action which ran to 109 pages and 5 annexes.  The Sentosa Agreement (as the 2 page agreement signed in Singapore is now being called) is thin on details.  For some reason, US President Trump believes that the details can be worked out easily.  In the press gaggle at the White House today, Mr Trump said:

“And I will tell you this: We now have a very good relationship with North Korea.  When I came into this job, it looked like war — not because of me, but because — if you remember the sit-down with Barack Obama, I think you will admit this, he said the biggest problem that the United States has, and by far the most dangerous problem — and he said to me — that we’ve ever had, because of nuclear, is North Korea.

“Now, that was shortly before I entered office.  I have solved that problem.  Now, we’re getting it memorialized and all, but that problem is largely solved, and part of the reason is we signed, number one, a very good document.  But you know what?  More importantly than the document — more importantly than the document, I have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un.  That’s a very important thing.”

The fact that Mr Trump and Mr. Kim talked is important, but to declare that the “problem is largely solved” is an overstatement given the history of previous agreements.

North Korea Nuclear Talks: A Timeline


Air pollution in Delhi has risen to levels beyond the capabilities of monitoring devices.  The devices can measure particulates in the air and use a range of 0-999, with a level of 270 considered “very unhealthy”.  But a duststorm combined with the normal pollution in the city to levels above 999.  Levels are expected to remain at very high levels until the temperature cools off a bit in October.  The range of pollution levels around the city are very high and construction projects in the city are being delayed to help lower the pollution.

India’s Air Quality Index



Macedonia is a former province in what was once Yugoslavia which became an independent state after Yugoslavia dissolved.  But Macedonia is also the home of Alexander the Great who the Greeks regard as one of their historic figures.  Ever since Macedonia became independent, the Greeks have protested its name, leading the United Nations to call the state the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” when it was admitted to the organization.  After many years of intense discussion, the Macedonians and the Greeks have agreed upon a compromise, and Macedonia will be known as the “Republic of Northern Macedonia”.  The agreement stills needs formal ratification, but the dispute is dramatic evidence over the political power of nationhood and the singular importance of cultural identity.

Posted June 15, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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