- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 30, 2019

2020 presidential candidates knocked President Trump’s performance in North Korea on Sunday, saying the meeting is getting the U.S. nowhere.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Julian Castro said it was good to have open dialogue with adversaries, but ultimately the U.S.-North Korean talks have proven to be fruitless.

He argued that the North Koreans haven’t honored any of the original promises they made during the first meeting in Singapore last year.

“We haven’t gotten anything out of it,” he said. “It seems like it’s all for show.”

The former secretary of Housing and Urban Development said Mr. Trump needed to lay more groundwork beforehand to ensure that Mr. Kim showed tangible improvement before meeting with him — otherwise the only accomplishment is raising the profile of a dictator.

“I think that he should put the work in before him and hold him accountable,” Mr. Castro said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar shared Mr. Castro’s sentiments that the president gave too much away by not enforcing North Korean commitments before meeting with Mr. Kim.

“It’s not as easy as just going, and bringing a hot dish over the fence to the dictator next door,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This is a ruthless dictator.”

The Minnesota senator said this has become a pattern for the president — to talk tough over Twitter but fumble when it comes time to push for results.

Ms. Klobuchar also hit the president for “coddling” up to dictators, like Mr. Putin at the G20 summit.

Mr. Trump made history early Sunday morning when he met with Kim Jong-un in the DMZ and became the first sitting U.S president to cross into North Korea. The two agreed to restart denuclearization talks that stalled earlier this year.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, another 2020 candidate, shared Mr. Castro’s concern about sensationalizing the meeting, but didn’t criticize the president for making the effort.

“I have no problem with him sitting down with Kim Jong-un in North Korea or anywhere else,” he said on “This Week.” “We need to move forward diplomatically, not just do photo opportunity.”

Mr. Sanders did, however, call for Mr. Trump to take a more diplomatic approach to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf and sit down with leaders from Iran and Saudi Arabia.

“And tell those people we are sick and tired of spending trillions of dollars because they keep going to war with each other,” he said. “Bring them to a table and let’s work out some lasting peace.”

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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