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Yesterday’s post covered the Inter-Korean Summit, which took place on April 27, 2018 and resulted in the Panmunjom Declaration between the two nations (great photos here and here).

Today’s looks at the Singapore Summit between the US and North Korea, which took place on Monday, June 12, 2018 at the Capella Hotel, Sentosa Island.

President Trump understands the complexity of negotiations with North Korea, because China controls that country. Graphic below courtesy of The Conservative Treehouse (CTH):

Consider the magnitude of the events of this year, so far. This was Dilbert’s Scott Adams’s take early in April:

After the Inter-Korean Summit, Trump was careful to remember China’s Xi:

After six decades, the Korean War is finally ending. Trump was a little boy when the last shot was fired. Even CNN acknowledged that he’s been instrumental in making it happen, although he humbly tweeted (emphases mine):

KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!

This was the scene in South Korea after the two Korean leaders met:

Trump spoke with South Korea’s Moon and Japan’s Abe with a view to US talks with North Korea.

Although military-industrial sector stocks dipped, on Monday, April 30, President Moon said that Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. From Reuters:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said U.S. President Donald Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, a South Korean official said on Monday.

“President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. What we need is only peace,” Moon told a meeting of senior secretaries, according to a presidential Blue House official who briefed media.

Conservative commentator Charles Payne took a Twitter poll: 83% agreed with Moon.

As a US trade delegation headed to China, Trump toyed with the idea of holding the US-North Korea summit at Peace House, where the Inter-Korean Summit took place.

On May 3, the South Koreans were still thinking about their president’s words on Trump’s deserving the Nobel Peace Prize:

If only Trump were as highly regarded in his own country …

The following day, North Korea switched to South Korea’s time zone in a significant step towards reunification:

Meanwhile, John Bolton met with South Korea’s national security office director Chung Eui-Yong about the Inter-Korean Summit as well as plans for President Moon’s trip to the White House on May 22.

On May 9, Trump held a cabinet meeting:

On May 10, North Korea released three American hostages. They returned to the United States, where President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were on hand to greet them and Mike Pompeo, who had secured their release.

The next day Pompeo pledged American help to North Korea, under certain conditions:

Pompeo also met with South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha at the White House that day. She was the one who told CNN’s Christine Amanpour that President Trump deserved much credit for the Inter-Korean Summit.

On May 12, news circulated that North Korea would dismantle its nuclear site on May 23, with rumours that only journalists from selected countries could cover the event. Trump tweeted:

On May 15, a North Korean statement put the Singapore Summit into doubt:

This was Trump’s response:

On May 17, CTH offered this analysis:

President Trump met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House today for a bilateral meeting on EU security and trade issues. During the Oval Office press availability both made remarks but president Trump took the opportunity to have an impromptu presser on other current issues …

It was not coincidental the stompy-feet assertions of Kim Jong-un and the DPRK were timed at the exact moment Chinese Vice-Premier Liu arrived in the U.S. for important trade talks. Once again Chairman Xi Jinping is using his proxy province of N-Korea to leverage economic benefits

POTUS Trump knows exactly what Chairman Xi is doing. Xi is leveraging the N-Korea talks for a better trade outcome.

On May 21, a commemorative coin to mark the Singapore Summit appeared:

President Moon arrived at the White House as scheduled, on May 22. CTH offered this analysis:

An important meeting today in the Oval Office between U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Obviously the primary discussion was over the issues of North Korea nuclear program, and the possible denuclearization summit between President Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un …

After a second meeting with Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping, the voices behind Chairman Kim Jong-un changed their tone in media presentations and and became more hostile toward the goal of a denuclearization summit. This example showcase Beijing exerting control over the DPRK to gain strategic trade and economic benefits.

Trump and Moon held a press conference. Trump answered a question on trade with China:

… President Xi and I have a great relationship, as President Moon can attest. But there is no deal. We will see what happens. We are discussing deals. We’re discussing various deals. We can do a 301. We can do — where we don’t need China, where we can just say, look, this is what we want, this is what we think is fair. That’s always a possibility if a negotiated deal doesn’t work out.

As I said, we lost $500 billion a year for many years. And then it varied from $100 billion to $500 billion. When you’re losing $500 billion a year, you can’t lose in terms of a negotiation. It’s really easy to win. But I want this to be a great deal for the United States, and I want it to be a very good deal for China, too, if that’s possible. It may not be possible

On May 24, Kim Jong-Un cancelled the Singapore Summit.

Trump responded in writing. The last two paragraphs are absolutely brilliant — and personal. The AP said that national security adviser John Bolton dictated the text of the letter:

CTH had this take:

Ultimately the decision to withdraw is an outcome of changes in posture initiated strategically by China and Chairman Xi Jinping. China hoping to leverage a U.S. trade outcome by playing the strings on DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-un.

The timing of the meetings between China and DPRK, mirrors the changes in posture by the DPRK and reflects a transparency. Communist Beijing is engaging with the Trump administration in traditional dragon-mode their zero-sum outlook. In response, President Trump drops the Panda approach and confronts the manipulation directly.

Likely President Trump will immediately increase sanction enforcement and reposition again for a pending naval blockade.

Earlier that day, North Korea blew up its nuclear test site. No inspectors were present, and the White House said that was the reason for Trump’s letter:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he received no North Korean response to earlier requests about setting up meetings during the summit. From the Daily Mail:

The North Korean government completely ignored the Trump administration’s efforts to nail down details of a planned June 12 nuclear arms summit in Singapore, effectively disappearing in the middle of pre-meeting protocol negotiations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had met personally in April with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang, sketching out the contours of the face-to-face that President Donald Trump canceled Thursday morning.

In testimony during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Pompeo said there was no chance of ‘a successful outcome,’ in some part because Kim’s team was AWOL when it counted.

‘Over the past many days we have endeavored to do what Chairman Kim and I had agreed, [which] was to put teams, preparation teams together, to begin to work to prepare for the summit,’ he told senators. ‘And we had received no response to our inquiries from them.’

By May 25, the talks were on again, with a North Korean statement. CTH reported:

Within minutes of President Trump withdrawing from the June 12th summit, Beijing realized all of their trade leverage was just wiped out. Playing deceptive panda isn’t going to work this time …

This is a battle, a massive economic battle, between U.S. President Trump and Chinese Chairman Xi. Period.

Whenever this geopolitical economic trade confrontation is resolved; that’s when Chairman Xi will instruct Chairman Kim to take the knee. Not a moment before.

Until the U.S. -vs- China economic confrontation is solved, Xi will continue to use the DPRK threat as his principle leverage in the negotiations.

CTHTheLastRefuge — had more on Twitter. From May 25:

Kim’s back in Beijing for next set of instructions. LOOK=>: “A high-ranking North Korean official appears to be visiting Beijing, a source with knowledge of the matter said Thursday, as the country has been bolstering ties with China.”…

Finally, at least one media outlet — Fox News — understood:

By May 26:

On May 27, CTH reported:

President Trump has announced via Twitter the U.S. advance team has arrived in North Korea to position for a possible June 12th summit between President Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un.

Yesterday South Korean Prime Minister Moon Jae-in and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un held an impromptu summit/meeting in the DPRK to display their unified smiles.

Trump gave a bit more detail:

We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea. Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more. Kim Yong Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!

On May 29, Kim Yong Chol flew to Beijing first, then on to New York. Pompeo was his host:

On June 1, Kim Yong Chol went to the White House to meet with President Trump and deliver a large, mysterious envelope:

Kim Yong Chol arrived in North Korea on June 3. Interestingly, North Korea replaced their top three military officials the same day.

On June 5, Trump was looking forward to the Singapore Summit. On June 7, he tweeted that he was looking forward to meeting his ‘good friend’, Japan’s Shinzo Abe, at the G7 to discuss trade and North Korea.

Trump left the G7 early for the Singapore Summit:

Air Force One landed in Crete for refuelling. Meanwhile, Air China provided Kim Jong Un with an Airbus A330 to get him to Singapore. Kim received a cordial welcome when he arrived (motorcade photo here).

China sent best wishes:

Pompeo was already conducting preliminary meetings:

The White House issued a statement saying that discussions were going very well indeed, ‘more quickly than expected’.

North Korea’s state media was also positive:

Here’s the historic handshake between Trump and Kim (a photo here of the room beforehand):

This composite video of the two leaders at the summit marks pivotal, historic moments for both countries and the world:

Trump and Kim met privately. This is what happened on the way:

They also made brief statements:

They took a walk after lunch:

Bilateral meetings also took place:

This is worth noting:

Talks went so well that Trump was able to leave Singapore earlier than expected.

Who would have expected these results only a few months ago?

Kim also pledged to finally return the remains of Americans who died in the Korean War.

Ultimately:

Incidentally, here is a bit more about the large, mysterious letter Kim Yong Chol delivered to the president on June 1. On June 11, just before the Singapore Summit began, the Straits Times reported:

According to South Korean daily Joongang Ilbo, citing a source in Singapore, Mr Kim has invited Mr Trump to North Korea to hold a second summit in July.

The invitation was in a letter written by Mr Kim to Mr Trump and hand delivered by Mr Kim’s right-hand man, General Kim Yong Chol, to the White House on June 1.

While Mr Trump has not revealed what was written in the letter, he seemed happy to get it. He told reporters then it was “a very nice letter” and “a very interesting letter”.

Although Trump flew back to Washington after the Singapore Summit, Pompeo’s work was far from over:

In closing, the impact of the Singapore Summit was not lost on the world.

In India:

In Los Angeles:

Amazingly, in North Korea:

This is a very exciting time for not only North Korea, South Korea, Asia and the United States — but also for the world.

It will be interesting to see how North Korea develops, particularly since the nation is sitting on trillions of dollars of mineral resources.

Post-Summit analysis to follow next week.

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When someone tells you something ‘can’t be done’, do not believe them. DO IT.

Consider:

Who would have thought that a former pro basketball player and a real estate mogul could do this?

Of course, it’s a work in progress:

Yet, it has moved forward from a meeting of two leaders to this:

Please join me in praying for success and peace.

My thanks to reader Magnetic01 who sent me a link last week about Tobacco Control’s plans for Singapore.

The March 2012 article from Tobacco-free Singapore concerns what seems to be an Asia-Pacific proposal for the moment:

The proposal to create a tobacco-free generation, by denying access to tobacco to those born from 2000 onwards, received strong support when it was presented at a meeting of the Human Rights and Tobacco Control Network (HRTCN) as part of the pre-conference activities associated with the World Conference on Tobacco Or Health (WCTOH) taking place here in Singapore.

It also gave me this week’s names to follow up on in Tobacco Control. Some I have researched. Others are connected with those who are mentioned in the Singaporean article.

Interestingly, the same news about banning tobacco to those born in 2000 and after later appeared in July 2012 in an Australian newspaper The Age. (H/T: Angry Exile at Orphans of Liberty.) In the article, Cameron Nolan, the winner of the 2012 Australian Fabians Young Writers Competition, proposes the same for Australia. (I have purposely underscored one important word in the preceding sentence.) However, from this, we can see that Nolan’s idea is not an original one.

Professor Ruth Malone is one of the people mentioned in the Tobacco-free Singapore article. Dr Malone works with a lady named Lisa Bero at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where Tobacco Control’s Stanton Glantz also works.

Lisa Bero

In addition to Malone’s and Glantz’s, Bero’s name will be one to watch out for as we move forward in the war against personal choice.

A fulsome article by David Holmes dated May 19, 2012, in The Lancet, introduces us to Bero (emphases mine):

Ruth Malone, one of Bero’s colleagues at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and Editor of Tobacco Control, describes Bero as a “real pioneer in terms of studying the things that influence science outside the ‘science’ itself, and particularly the role of industry in shaping it”. But Bero’s exploration of the seamier side of science has attracted some unwelcome attention. “A few death threat letters from individuals who were smokers or maybe libertarians”, Bero recalls, “to stop me interfering with people’s lives. I don’t really take these seriously”. Thankfully her University does, as do the police, who once carted off a package that turned out to be from a PhD student in South Africa who sent Bero a homemade device for delivering inhaled medicines. Cue Bero’s raucous laughter.

Since completing her Pew Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute for Health Policy Studies at UCSF in 1990 Bero has been a constant thorn in the side of tobacco companies, most recently in a review with Malone which suggests that measures to “denormalise” the tobacco industry, such as advertising bans and plain packaging, are an effective way to control tobacco use. But her eclectic research interests also extend to examining the influence of corporate sponsorship and researcher conflicts of interest on efficacy and adverse event data from drug trials. The goal of all this investigation of bias “is to design effective ways to facilitate the translation of the best available research into policy”.

As a member of the Cochrane Collaboration, Bero takes a keen interest in how meta-analyses are conducted and influenced …

Originally hailing from New Orleans, Bero’s laid back manner belies the rigour and the passion with which she deals with her work. From the very start of her career she has specialised in taking the path of most resistance. Having quit after 1 year of graduate school to go backpacking with her future husband, Bero went back to finish a PhD in pharmacology in 1987, and had worked for only a year on a National Institute on Drug Abuse postdoc on the molecular basis of opiate addiction when she decided to transfer to the Pew programme to follow her passion for health policy. Some colleagues counselled Bero against “throwing away her promising career”, but in the end she became the first ever basic scientist to get in the programme, “and that really just changed my life”, she says …

“I’ve been actively discouraged from doing what I do, and I’ve had people who are my peers who say they would never do what I do because they would be afraid for their career advancement”, says Bero. This is one reason why she is so devoted to mentoring junior researchers, especially when they “go against the grain”. For Bero, the work trumps ambition every time. “It hasn’t made me popular, but I don’t really want to be popular. I think it has some impact, and if I’m not getting any response then well, jeez, nobody noticed what I’m doing”. Thankfully, Bero is impossible to ignore.

Fret not, Lisa, we’ll be keeping an eye out for you in future Tobacco Control news.

The Cochrane Collaboration

As stated above, Bero is a member of The Cochrane Collaboration:

…  an international network of more than 28,000 dedicated people from over 100 countries. We work together to help healthcare providers, policy-makers, patients, their advocates and carers, make well-informed decisions about health care, by preparing, updating, and promoting the accessibility of Cochrane Reviews – over 5,000 so far, published online in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, part of The Cochrane Library. We also prepare the largest collection of records of randomised controlled trials in the world, called CENTRAL, published as part of The Cochrane Library.

Our work is internationally recognised as the benchmark for high quality information about the effectiveness of health care.

The Collaboration believes that effective health care is created through equal partnerships between researcher, provider, practitioner and patient

The Cochrane Collaboration’s contributors are a mix of volunteers and paid staff who are affiliated to the organisation through Cochrane entities: healthcare subject-related review groups, thematic networks – called ‘fields’ -, groups concerned with the methodology of systematic reviews, and regional centres. 

Many are world leaders in their field of medicine, health policy, research methodology or consumer advocacy, and our entities are situated in some of the world’s finest academic and medical institutions.

There is no one place or office that is ‘The Cochrane Collaboration’. Our contributors and entities are based all around the world and the majority of our work is carried out online …

The Cochrane Collaboration is named after Archie Cochrane (1909-1988), a British epidemiologist, who advocated the use of randomised controlled trials as a means of reliably informing healthcare practice. We are an independent, not-for-profit organisation, funded by a variety of sources including governments, universities, hospital trusts, charities and personal donations.

Their headquarters and Tobacco Addiction Group are based in Oxford. The Cochrane Collaboration issues their Chris Silagy Award annually for outstanding work in a particular field. In 2009, the award went to an English Lit major, Kate Cahill (BA), a member of the Tobacco Addiction Group, who –much like Stanton Glantz transferring mysteriously from Engineering and Applied Mechanics to Cardiology within two yearsmade the move from a publishing career to the University of Oxford’s Department of Primary Health Care Services as a data manager and clinical trials administrator.

Where is the transparency here? How do these people in completely unrelated fields move into such prominent positions in Tobacco Control — under the guise of ‘health’ — to denormalise smokers? And what is an English major doing campaigning against smoking, when some of the world’s best writers partook of the plant in creating their best work?

Essentially, we taxpayers fund Cochrane’s work, smokers even more so. This international list of contributors shows that the majority are public or state-operated institutions.

The Cochrane Collaboration attempts to address a myriad of health-related issues, some more useful than others. They are not solely about Tobacco Control, although they make it clear that they intend to influence health policy around the world through their various entities.

It will be interesting to see what we hear from the Cochrane Collaboration going forward, especially with regard to lifestyle choices.

Archie Cochrane, by the way, was a Scot who was a member of the British Battalion of the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. Hmm. ‘Nuff said.

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