TEL AVIV – A senior Israeli official said President Donald Trump is now in a better position to minimize the threat of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East after the leaders of North and South Korea on Friday pledged a “complete denuclearization” of the peninsula. He added that the move, should it go through, will also give the Trump administration better leverage vis-a-vis Iran.
“[Trump] will have more power against Iran now and maybe to convince the European Union not to be the weak link in the coalition,” Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told Reuters.
“I think it will be very good if the North Koreans finish and go out of the nuclear business and capabilities,” he said. “It will also be good to our region, because there is a connection.”
Iran has dismissed as “nonsense” reports it has been working with North Korea on developing ballistic missiles. However, according to Katz, Israel has proof of their collaboration.
“Yes, I think there is cooperation as it belongs to developing the ballistic missiles. And we have the evidence,” he said.
Katz’s comments Friday came after South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “for national reconciliation and unity, peace and prosperity,” a declarative text said.
Kim Jong Un and Moon “confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula,” the document added.
Trump, who called the summit “historic,” is slated to meet with Kim in the near future.
He said that he felt a “responsibility” to succeed in achieving peace in the region, adding that if he failed it would be a “tough time” for many people in the world.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that Trump is still undecided as to whether he will follow through on his threat to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran if it remains unchanged.
He added, “The president has been clear. Absent a substantial fix, absent overcoming the shortcomings, the flaws of the deal, he is unlikely to stay in that deal past this May.”