1. Update
  2. Nuclear Weapons

President Trump’s Decision to Cancel Korea Summit Is a Mistake

By Anthony Wier, May 24, 2018

President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel the planned June 12 meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore is a huge mistake that increases the risk of war. We are particularly alarmed by the open allusions to the use of nuclear weapons by both the North Koreans and the United States. This loose talk of nuclear war undermines diplomacy and reflects a careless disregard for the real cost of any military conflict on the Korean peninsula.

As a Quaker lobby in the United States, we believe war is not the answer. As a matter of public policy, we urge members of Congress to demand a return to the negotiating table with the full understanding: that diplomacy is a marathon, not a sprint; that these talks must be based on negotiations, not threats; that confidence building must begin with some give and take, and that war on the Korean peninsula is unacceptable.

Diplomacy is a marathon, not a sprint.

Above all, Congress must now pass the legislation introduced by Senator Murphy (S. 2047) and Rep. Khanna (H.R. 4837) making clear that the president may not launch a preventive military strike against North Korea without explicit Congressional approval.

Walking Away from the Summit

Walking away from a meeting will not eliminate a single North Korean nuclear weapon, uranium centrifuge, or plutonium production reactor.

Walking away from a meeting will do nothing to slow North Korea’s ballistic missile development.

Walking away from a meeting will not free a single political prisoner from a labor camp, bring home to the United States the remains of a single fallen American serviceman, or permit a single long-divided family member to see her loved ones again.

Abandoning Diplomacy

Abandoning diplomacy, on the other hand, will embarrass, if not enrage, America’s South Korean ally, whose president just a few short weeks ago personally pledged to all Koreans that war would not return to the Korean peninsula.

Abandoning diplomacy will cause our allies in the region and in Europe to question American reliability and constancy even more than they had after the decision to renege on the Iran nuclear deal.

Abandoning diplomacy will increase the chances that misunderstanding or accident could spark a conflict killing millions.

Abandoning diplomacy will increase the chances that misunderstanding or accident could spark a conflict killing millions.

No one said diplomacy would be easy, or that the North Korean regime would be pleasant to deal with. But history will not excuse nations’ leaders just because they did not intend for their bluff and chest-thumping to actually start a war.

Our nation must pursue diplomacy because the path of war is littered with false promises and worse than expected consequences.

Our nation must pursue diplomacy because only the slow, challenging, difficult work of diplomacy and peacebuilding hold a real chance of opening a way to a better tomorrow.

Anthony Wier

  • Legislative Secretary, Nuclear Disarmament and Pentagon Spending

Anthony is our lead lobbyist and the director of FCNL's work on nuclear weapons policy and is the key team leader working on our efforts to rein in Pentagon spending. He is also responsible for maintaining FCNL’s Nuclear Calendar and for representing FCNL with the various coalitions that work on these issues.