In the aftermath of the Hanoi summit between North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, and U.S. President Donald Trump, The Japan Times ran a number of follow-up pieces. The least helpful was “Frailty over North Korea exposed” on the front page of the March 3 edition. It was labeled “Analysis.” Analysis it was not.

It was a curious set of musings. The writers didn’t quite know what they were saying but were keen to stay on message.

“As the dust settles in the wake of the much-vaunted and, ultimately, failed second summit,” the piece began, with a double-dose of tired metaphors, cliche following upon cliche.

It was oblivious to the summit’s unique high drama.

Ego summitry isn’t played for higher stakes than between Trump and Kim. Both are charismatic and ruthless. Kim is a brutal, murderous dictator. Trump, as Michael Cohen testified, is a “racist,” “con man” and “cheat.” He’s also a desperate man, anxious to keep his tax returns hidden.

The authors failed to understand that Trump is Kim’s best bet out of a cruel dilemma. Kim needs nuclear weapons to survive, but the weapons are his accursed Achilles heel. To enable his people to eat as he does, he needs to denuclearize. Kim can terrorize Japan, but the United States can — a second time — flatten North Korea.

Their claim that South Korean President Moon Jae-in “painted himself into a corner” is absurd. Moon seeks a unified Korea, Asia’s next industrial powerhouse.

They say that Moon was “one of the biggest net losers in all this.” An even bigger loser was Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has failed to secure the return of a single abductee. The aim of the piece was to distract readers from this fact.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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