Former US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Friday the United States should be cautious of any promises made by North Korea at the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
“Remember, they first made the promise not to have nuclear weapons to George Bush 1 in 1992,” the Obama-era defense secretary said on CNN’s “New Day” Friday. “So I think we need to wish the President well in these negotiations, but a new promise by North Korea isn’t really going to be anything new.”
Carter said the US instead needs to “get a plan,” similar to the Iran deal, to ensure that North Korea’s dismantling of its nuclear weapons program can be monitored. He noted that such a plan would necessitate more than one meeting between the two world leaders.
The former defense secretary added that he would “be very cautious about trading away US forces or US readiness in the Korean Peninsula” from the outset of negotiations.
“That kind of thing may come way down the road,” Carter explained, “but not upfront. Don’t give things upfront for promises sometime in the future.”
Carter noted that the summit, which Trump announced Thursday would take place on June 12 in Singapore, is “certainly cause for hope,” but said that expectations should be tempered.
“You can’t be optimistic when it come to North Korea on the basis of history,” he said.
Carter also expressed doubt that Kim’s views had changed, despite the President’s recent praise for the North Korean leader.
“I’ve dealt with him, his father and his grandfather,” Carter said of Kim. “They all had in common the determination to make North Korea able to stand on its own. … He’s the one who has intensified missile launches. He’s the one who has intensified the nuclear program.”
“So it’s hard to say in his behavior you see a change of heart,” Carter added.