Idaho Sen. Jim Risch Hails North Korea Summit As "Historic Occasion"

Jun 12, 2018

Idaho Senator Jim Risch is praising the Trump Administration’s first steps in attempting to disarm North Korea’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

President Donald Trump promised to suspend military exercises with South Korea when he met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Singapore this week.

In return, North Korea says it will work towards the denuclearization of the peninsula, but no details of how that will happen have been negotiated. U.S. economic sanctions will remain in place for now.

Critics say that lack of detail could give the nation time to develop more sophisticated weapons before they ultimately pull out of the deal – something they’ve done before in past agreements with American officials.

In an interview with Fox News Tuesday, Risch says the gravity of the fact that a sitting U.S. president met with the leader of North Korea should be recognized as significant.

“If Barack Obama had accomplished what Donald Trump just accomplished, they’d be calling for the stone masons to get out to Mount Rushmore and put a fifth head on Mount Rushmore,” Risch says. "This is a historic occasion."

Such details, he notes, will come later.

“If they agree on an objective that both can agree on and if both work in good faith to meet that objective, this can happen and it’ll be a great thing for America, for the world, for the Korean peninsula and everyone else.”

Risch co-chairs a Senate committee that will be included in further negotiations with North Korea.

During the Fox News interview, Risch also criticized the Obama Administration's attempts to eradicate Iran's cache of nuclear material, a deal that Trump withdrew from last month. He dismissed that deal's verification process, referring to some provisions as "oddball, ouija board stuff."

Whatever system negotiators agree to, Risch told CNN Tuesday that it can't resemble the Iranian Nuclear Agreement. "It's going to be a tougher deal or it's not going to be ratified."

Specifics for any future meetings have not yet been finalized.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio