The denuclearization process with North Korea is going nowhere fast. Last week, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said the U.S. has no plans to suspend any more major military exercises with South Korea. Mattis also said that smaller-scale exercises in the South would continue, lending credence to the North’s accusation that a nuclear submarine recently dropped off a fresh contingent of U.S. special operations forces at the Jinhae naval base for training. Halting these kinds of exercises was Washington’s portion of the tacit “freeze for freeze” agreement the United States and North Korea appeared to have reached a few months ago.
Also last week, U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly canceled a long-planned visit to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, just days after Pompeo finally named a special envoy to spearhead working-level negotiations with the North. Trump’s decision was reportedly motivated by a letter he received the same day from Kim Jong Un’s spy chi