Trump: ‘I Won’t Fail’ Where Past Presidents Did On North Korea

Ryan Pickrell | China/Asia Pacific Reporter

President Donald Trump said Sunday that he will succeed where past presidents failed, suggesting that he will rein in North Korea.

Trump said that the U.S. has tried playing nice with North Korea and seen nothing but failure for over two decades. He pointed to the failures of former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

The president’s tweet is oddly worded as Rocket Man is Trump’s nickname for Kim Jong Un, who has only been in power for around six years.

In the 1990s, Clinton tried to negotiate a nuclear freeze with North Korea in exchange for billions of dollars in aid. The North Koreans negotiated in bad faith, accepting American assistance while secretly enriching uranium. During the Bush administration, the president severely damaged the bilateral relationship by labeling North Korea part of the axis of evil. The country declared itself a nuclear power and tested its first nuclear device during Bush’s second term. Obama failed to respond to North Korean provocations, which included unprecedented missile testing and four nuclear weapons tests.

Since Trump took office, North Korea has conducted nearly two dozen ballistic missile tests, showcasing a variety of new weapons systems, and detonated a staged thermonuclear device.

The Trump administration has been carrying out a strategy of “maximum pressure and engagement” to halt North Korea’s weapons programs, and while the international community, in response to U.S. demands, appears to be mobilizing against the regime, Pyongyang remains undeterred.

The Department of State has repeatedly signaled that the U.S. is pressuring North Korea to come to the negotiating table, but Trump tweeted earlier Sunday that pursuing such negotiations is a complete waste of time.

The strategy at this point is decidedly unclear, but all options are on the table.

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