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As Trump Demands 'Credit,' South Korea Praised for 'Masterful' Diplomacy

"Let the record show, it wasn't Trump's bluster or the 'maximum pressure' campaign that brought North Korea to the negotiating table, it was South Korean President Moon Jae-in's willingness to engage without preconditions."

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), argued that lasting peace and security can only be achieved if the U.S. and North Korea "join the majority of countries in pursuing permanent denuclearization through The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons." (Photo: Reuters)

While President Donald Trump was quick to implore the media to give him "credit" for the announcement late Thursday that he is set to meet with Kim Jong-un in person some time in May, analysts and anti-war groups argued in response to the news that it was South Korea's persistent diplomatic efforts—not Trump's "fire and fury" threats—that led to the potentially historic breakthrough.

"It's a mistake to believe that 'maximum pressure' forced North Korea to dialogue; it was Moon’s masterful diplomatic stroke."
—Christine Ahn, Women Cross DMZ

"Kim Jong-un reiterating his country's commitments not to test nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles during ongoing diplomacy is excellent news, as is President Trump accepting Kim's invitation to meet in person for the first time," said Peace Action president Kevin Martin in a statement on Thursday. "But let the record show, it wasn't Trump's bluster or the 'maximum pressure' campaign that brought North Korea to the negotiating table, it was South Korean President Moon Jae-in's willingness to engage without preconditions."

Christine Ahn, a Korea expert and founder of the anti-war group Women Cross DMZ, echoed Peace Action's stance in a series of tweets on Thursday, arguing that crediting Trump's aggressive tactics and U.S. sanctions—as some media outlets did in response to the news—is "a dangerous rewriting of what happened."

Thursday's announcement—delivered by South Korean officials outside the White House—comes on the heels of a meeting between a South Korean delegation and Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang earlier this week, during which Kim vowed to halt missile tests during diplomatic talks.

As Common Dreams reported on Thursday, a coalition of grassroots peace organizations sent an open letter to the White House following the meeting calling on Trump to reciprocate North Korea's diplomatic overtures by canceling planned war games close to North Korea's borders.

In a statement celebrating the growing possibility of deescalation of nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Beatrice Fihn, executive director of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), argued that lasting peace and security can only be achieved if the U.S. and North Korea "join the majority of countries in pursuing permanent denuclearization through The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons."

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