Peace Treaty, and Peace Prize, for North Korea Appear to Tempt Trump

Peace Treaty, and Peace Prize, for North Korea Appear to Tempt Trump


Mr. Trump also claimed that his most recent predecessor, President Barack Obama, told him that he was on the verge of a military strike on North Korea, a claim that Mr. Obama’s former advisers have dismissed.

Since Mr. Trump’s first meeting with Mr. Kim last June in Singapore — which produced extravagant claims of progress by the president but no evidence of disarmament — the administration has emphasized peace on the Korean Peninsula as a key goal of its diplomacy.

It is one of four pillars of the administration’s engagement with the North, along with denuclearization, transforming relations between Pyongyang and Washington and obtaining the return of the remains of American service members killed in the war.

“In President Trump, the United States has a leader who, more so than any previous president, is deeply and personally committed to once and for all bringing an end to 70 years of war and hostility on the Korean Peninsula,” Stephen E. Biegun, the president’s special representative for North Korea, said last month in a speech at Stanford University.

The thaw between North and South Korea has already eased tensions on the peninsula. On a visit to the Demilitarized Zone before Christmas, Mr. Biegun said, he was struck by how quiet and peaceful it was. “Not a weapon was to be seen,” he said. “Not even a sidearm.”

Still, a formal peace treaty would raise complicated legal issues. For one, the Senate might assert its prerogative to ratify it. But the White House counsel’s office has told senators it does not believe a treaty would have to be ratified, according to a person briefed by the lawmakers.

China is a signatory to the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement — along with North Korea and an American general, who was representing the United Nations Command — and it would presumably have to sign a successor treaty. The Chinese favor this course, in part, analysts warn, because they view it as a pretext to reduce the United States’ military presence in Asia.


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