- “대부분의 분석가들, 북미정상회담 열릴 것으로 전망”
트럼프 미국 대통령이 즉각적 북 비핵화 요구에서 한 발 물러서 단계적 해체에 가능성을 내비쳤다.
뉴욕타임스에 따르면 트럼프는 북한의 핵 프로그램이 한 번에 다 해체하기는 어려울 규모라며 “한 번에 다 된다면 훨씬 좋을 것이지만 하지만 꼭 그래야 하나? 절대적으로 그렇게만 주장하고 싶지는 않다”고 말했다고 전했다.
이는 문재인 대통령과 열린 정상회담에서 북미 정상회담이 연기될 수 있다는 입장을 내비친 뒤 나온 것으로 트럼프의 입장 변화가 주목된다. 트럼프는 한미 정상회담 기자회견에서 “우리가 원하는 특정한 조건들이 있다”며, “우리는 그 조건을 얻게 될 것이라고 생각한다. 그리고 만일 이를 얻지 못한다면 이번 회담은 없을 것이다”라고 말한 바 있다.
이는 어찌하든 북미 정상회담을 성공시키겠다는 트럼프의 의지가 반영된 것으로 정책에 변화가 있었다기 보다는 김 위원장과의 만남을 지키기 위한 노력으로 보인다고 전한 뉴욕타임스는 트럼프의 제스처가 김 위원장의 즉각적인 거부를 피할 수 있으며, 트럼프 대통령이 지난 몇 개월 동안 북한을 대하는 데 있어 고수하던 기본 입장을 포기할 용의가 있음을 보여준다고 분석했다.
뉴욕타임스는 또한 트럼프가 북한이 시진핑을 만난 뒤 태도에 변화가 왔다고 생각한다며 트럼프 대통령의 “그 회담 후에 북한 사람들의 태도가 달라졌다, 그점이 마음에 들지 않는다”는 발언을 소개했다.
이어 북한의 태도 변화로 갈등이 고조되어 문 대통령에게 압력이 가중되고 있다고 전한 뉴욕타임스는 문 대통령은 “키를 쥔 사람은 트럼프 대통령이다”라며 “나는 이런 점에서 그가 역사적인 전환점을 만들 수 있을 것으로 확신한다”고 말했다고 전했다.
북미 정상회담이 열릴 것인가하는 의구심에 뉴욕타임스는 “우리는 예정대로 북-미 정상회담이 열릴 가능성이 99.9 %라고 믿는다”는 정의용 국가안보실장의 발언을 전하며 대부분의 분석가들은 양국 지도자들이 이에 많이 노력을 기울였으므로 회담이 열릴 것으로 믿는다고 보도했다.
다음은 뉴스프로가 번역한 뉴욕타임스 기사의 전문이다.
Trump Backs Away From Demand for Immediate North Korean Denuclearization
By The Associated Press
In an appearance with South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, President Donald Trump said a planned meeting with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, remains tentative. Published On May 22, 2018 Credit Image by Doug Mills/The New York Times
By Mark Landler
WASHINGTON — President Trump opened the door on Tuesday to a phased dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, backing away from his demand that the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, completely abandon his arsenal without any reciprocal American concessions.
The president’s hint of flexibility came after North Korea declared last week that it would never agree to unilaterally surrender its weapons, even threatening to cancel the much-anticipated summit meeting between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump scheduled for next month in Singapore.
Mr. Trump’s statement seemed less a policy shift than an effort to preserve his date with Mr. Kim. But while the gesture may avoid a swift rejection by Mr. Kim, it shows that Mr. Trump is willing to give up what for months has been his bedrock position in dealing with the North. And it demonstrates that three weeks before the June 12 meeting, the White House is still groping for a strategy to negotiate with a reclusive, suspicious nuclear-weapons state.
The scale of North Korea’s program, he said, would make it difficult to dismantle it in a single step. “It would certainly be better if it were all in one,” Mr. Trump said. “Does it have to be? I don’t think I want to totally commit myself.”
The president’s comments, delivered as he welcomed President Moon Jae-in of South Korea to the Oval Office, were the latest move in a battle of wits between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim, two leaders who both clearly want to talk but recognize the deep gulf that separates them.
Mr. Trump expressed continued enthusiasm for the meeting, saying he believed it could usher in a new era of prosperity for North Korea and safety for Mr. Kim. But he acknowledged that after North Korea’s shift in tone, it could be delayed.
“There’s a very substantial chance that it won’t work out, and that’s O.K.,” Mr. Trump told reporters, as Mr. Moon listened. “That doesn’t mean it won’t work over a period of time. But it may not work out for June 12.”
“There are certain conditions we want to happen,” he added. “I think we’ll get those conditions. And if we don’t, we won’t have the meeting.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has met twice with Mr. Kim to make arrangements for the meeting, expressed optimism that it would still take place. But he warned that there would likely be more twists and turns before the two leaders shook hands in Singapore.
Mr. Trump has done little to hide his excitement about that prospect. The White House has even issued a commemorative coin for the meeting that depicts the two men, in profile, facing each other, and refers to Mr. Kim as the “Supreme Leader.” But inside the White House, one official said, there was confusion about what will happen on June 12 — or whether a meeting will happen at all.
Mr. Trump said he detected a change in Mr. Kim after he met China’s president, Xi Jinping, this month in the coastal Chinese city of Dalian. He suggested that Mr. Xi, whom he described as a “world-class poker player,” encouraged Mr. Kim to harden his approach to the United States, in part to gain leverage in trade negotiations between China and the United States.
“There was a different attitude by the North Korean folks after that meeting,” Mr. Trump said. “I can’t say that I’m happy about it.”
The threatening words between Pyongyang and Washington have also raised the pressure on Mr. Moon, who has acted as a kind of go-between for Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim. His diplomacy set the stage for the Singapore summit meeting, and he has urged Mr. Trump to push for a historic breakthrough with the North, saying that such an achievement would make him a candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Turning to Mr. Moon, Mr. Trump asked him whether he believed that Mr. Xi was influencing Mr. Kim. Mr. Moon deflected the question, though he conceded there was skepticism in the United States about the prospects for a successful negotiation. He said Mr. Trump’s participation set this process apart from previous ones.
“The person who is in charge is President Trump,” Mr. Moon said. “I have every confidence that he will be able to make a historic turnaround in this sense.”
Though Mr. Moon’s visit had been scheduled for weeks, Mr. Trump called him on Saturday, ahead of his visit, suggesting the depth of uncertainty he feels about the harsh words from Pyongyang. North Korea objected particularly to John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s new national security adviser, who said recently he viewed Libya as a template for negotiating the denuclearization of North Korea.
Mr. Trump subsequently disavowed Mr. Bolton’s remarks, acknowledging that Libya’s voluntary disarmament in 2003 did nothing to protect its leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, from being killed by his own people less than a decade later in the upheavals that swept the Arab world.
On Tuesday, Mr. Trump went out of his way to guarantee Mr. Kim’s safety. “He will be safe. He will be happy. His country will be rich,” the president said.
Analysts noted it was not clear how the United States would protect Mr. Kim from a domestic uprising like the one that convulsed Libya.
Mr. Moon sought assurances of his own — not least that the United States will maintain American troop levels in South Korea, regardless of its negotiation with Mr. Kim. Mr. Trump has long expressed a desire to withdraw troops, and the National Security Council has asked the Pentagon to prepare options for changing levels of military forces.
Still, South Korean officials said Mr. Moon delivered an essentially upbeat message to Mr. Trump.
“We believe there is a 99.9 percent chance the North Korea-U.S. summit will be held as scheduled,” Mr. Moon’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, said to reporters traveling to Washington. “But we’re just preparing for many different possibilities.”
Most analysts said they believed the meeting would still happen because both leaders were so invested in it.
“But the notion that this would be an easy win, with North Korea turning over a new leaf and trading in its nukes for the embrace of the free world, is dissipating in the president’s mind,” said Victor D. Cha, a Korea expert at Georgetown University who was briefly considered as ambassador to Seoul by the Trump administration. “There are no fairy tale endings with North Korea.”
Jung Pak, a former C.I.A. analyst now at the Brookings Institution, said, “In effect, President Trump is getting a mini-lesson in talking to the North Koreans even before he talks to the North Koreans.”
Mr. Trump’s flexibility on when and how North Korea would dismantle its program, some analysts said, was a welcome recognition of reality. The idea of packing up North Korea’s sprawling nuclear program and flying it out of the country on American military transport planes was always far-fetched.
“Trump believed he was going to get complete denuclearization, and now he realizes he’s not,” said Michael J. Green, senior vice president for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “So now they’re trying to find a credible way to claim this summit will lead to denuclearization.”
A spokesman for Mr. Moon said he and Mr. Trump had agreed to join efforts to make sure the summit meeting came off as planned. The two leaders, the spokesman said, discussed “ways to address the sense of insecurity North Korea could have after it declared complete denuclearization for the first time.”
Other experts in South Korea said there were still high hopes for the Trump-Kim encounter, and that the White House should not get rattled.
“There may be a sense here that the Trump team is overreacting to North Korea’s pushback last week and losing sight of the big picture,” said John Delury, an associate professor of Chinese studies at Yonsei University in South Korea.
“Of course gaps remain in terms of negotiating peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Mr. Delury said. “That’s the reason a negotiation is necessary.”
Choe Sang-Hun contributed reporting from Seoul.
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