Julia Cohen on June 12, 2018
President Donald Trump isn’t the first president to call off joint military exercises with South Korea in order to appease North Korea.
The Clinton administration deferred a U.S.–South Korea military exercise to persuade North Korea to allow inspection of its nuclear facilities in April 1994.
“We believe it is critical that that operation by supervised [by the International Atomic Agency],” former Secretary of Defense William Perry told reporters of monitoring North Korea’s nuclear development on April 21, 1994.
North Korea signed an agreement stating it would “freeze nuclear activities, renounce any ambition to become a nuclear power, and open up to secret military sites to inspection …” in October 1994.
“We have neither the intention nor the plan to develop nuclear weapons,” North Korean negotiator Kang Sok Ju told The New York Times in October 1994.
In exchange, the U.S. would build light-water nuclear reactors, which cannot be used to make weapons, to help North Korea create nuclear power for electricity. The U.S. also agreed to normalize the political relationship between the two countries.
The agreement fell apart in 2002 and North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006 .
Trump suspended military exercises with South Korea in exchange for a North Korean promise to commit to denuclearization on Tuesday.
That promise, however, was criticized by many in the media as too vague, with no definition of denuclearization in the agreement.
“Bottom-line: Trump made specific commitments to end military exercises with
#SouthKorea & eventually withdraw US forces from peninsula. #NorthKorea made NO specific commitments on timing or verification of denuclearization, also did not give accounting of its nuclear arsenal,” Jim Sciutto, CNN chief national security correspondent, tweeted on Tuesday.