Little change in North Korea

A couple of months ago, following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump declared that North Korea was no longer a nuclear danger to the world. North Korea had agreed to denuclearization, he declared.

Last week, Trump notified Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cancel an upcoming visit to North Korea, saying there has been a lack of progress in denuclearization negotiations.

The honeymoon with Kim seems to be over, or at least wearing a little thin.

Trump blamed the lack of progress on the U.S.’s worsening relations with China over trade and tariffs. If China’s mad at the U.S., it’s not going to be very willing to push Kim to cut back his nuclear program.

But make no mistake. China doesn’t run North Korea’s nuclear program. Kim Jong Un does, and like his father and grandfather who ruled Noth Korea before him, he will use aggression, threats and bombast to his advantage. He will make promises, like the ones in June, to wheedle economic concessions from the U.S. and others, without actually giving up anything he values, and he values the power and prestige that being a nuclear nation gives him.

That is not going to change, no matter how many empty promises Kim makes.