We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th., and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018
United States officials have arrived in North Korea for the preparation of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean despot Kim Jong Un after the president tweeted the meeting with was recently canceled, might be still on.
Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself. I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day. Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this. It will happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2018
On May 24, Trump announced he had decided to terminate the much anticipated meeting between the two leaders, citing “tremendous anger” from North Korea as a factor in the decision via a particularly threatening statement.
Sadly, I was forced to cancel the Summit Meeting in Singapore with Kim Jong Un. pic.twitter.com/rLwXxBxFKx— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2018
However, that stance has now considerably shifted as Sung Kim, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North, has been called to work on the arrangements of the meeting, according to The Washington Post.
Sung, in his attempt to establish the “substance” of the summit was joined by Allison Hooker, the Korea specialist on the National Security Council, and Randall Schriver, the assistant secretary of defense for East Asia and one of the officials who previously accompanied Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to North Korea, The Washington Post reported.
The decision to renew summit talks came after a surprise meeting between North and South Korean leaders in the northern side of the demilitarized zone (DMZ).
South Korean President Moon Jae-in assured Kim was still committed to “complete denuclearization,” however, he did not define the term itself.
After the meeting Moon said, “We two leaders agreed the June 12 North Korea-U.S. summit must be successfully held.”
Crossing into the North Korean Border Sung is expected to be working with Choe Son Hui, the North Korean vice foreign minister. Both the individuals are closely familiar with the subject of the meeting— denuclearization.
Choe recently slammed U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after he said North Korea may end like Libya if the talks fail, hinting at the Libya agreement and the circumstances that led to the killing of Moammar Gadhafi.
Despite constant assurances from Moon, many U.S. officials doubt Kim’s intention and commitment to complete denuclearization as June 12 looms near.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) thinks North Korea is “playing a game.”
“Kim Jong Un — these nuclear weapons are something he’s psychologically attached to. They are what give him his prestige and importance. .?.?. I’d love to see them denuclearize. I just, I’m not very optimistic about that,” he said.
The former director of national intelligence and a onetime senior intelligence officer for U.S. forces in South Korea James R. Clapper Jr. is not convinced North Korea will commit to complete denuclearization in return for nothing.
“When we say ‘denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,’ this could be a two-way street,” Clapper said. He also added a more realistic approach to the summit would be to try and establish a communication route between the two nations, so the U.S. can have a better understanding of the reclusive state.
“This is not a reward for bad behavior at all,” Clapper said. “It’s mutually reciprocal and would give us that presence there, more insight and more understanding.”
Michael V. Hayden, CIA director during the George W. Bush administration, worries the president might not be ready for the one-on-one meeting after all.
“I don’t know the president has done the kind of homework that would allow him to do this,” Hayden said.
“These folks are not going to get rid of all their nuclear weapons,” Hayden added. “And if President Trump’s brand — and that’s the right word here, going into this meeting — demands something like that, this is going to end up in a very bad place.”
Despite the uncertainty around it, the on-again-off-again summit between Trump and Kim seems to be on again for June 12 — for now.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque, KCNA/via REUTERS