Opinion President Trump’s North Korea Gamble
S Korea to send high-level officials to North for talks
South Korea's presidential office says a 10-member government delegation is to visit North Korea this week for talks on how to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula. The Blue House said Sunday the delegation led by national security director Chung Eui-yong is to fly to Pyongyang on Monday for a two-day visit that includes talks with unidentified senior North Korean officials.
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This is stunning: President Trump has accepted an invitation from Kim Jong-un for a summit.
It’s also, I think, a dangerous gamble and a bad idea.
I can’t believe I’m saying that. For many years, over several trips to North Korea, I’ve argued for direct talks between the United States and North Korea, and it’s certainly better to be engaging the North than bombing it. If the choice is talk versus missiles, I’ll go with the talk.
Trump tells Gridiron: North Korea 'called up' and 'would like to talk'
President Donald Trump said in his speech to the mostly joke-filled Gridiron Club Dinner on Saturday night that North Korea had recently reached out about possible talks. "They called up a couple of days ago and said, 'We would like to talk,'" Trump said. "And I said, 'So would we, but you have to de-nuke. You have to de-nuke.' So let's see what happens. Let's see what happens."The US has said it would be willing to meet with North Korea but has always insisted that Pyongyang eventually abandon its nuclear weapons program as part of any talks. Trump later said "maybe positive things are happening. I hope that's true. ..
But the proper way to hold a summit is with careful preparation to make sure that the meeting advances peace — and certainly that it serves some purpose higher than simply legitimizing Kim’s regime.
Kim and Trump are both showmen with a flair for the dramatic and unexpected. That would make a summit thrilling — but creates great risks if everything turns out wrong.
What North Korean leaders have craved for many years is international respect and credibility; they want to be treated as equals by the Americans, so a scene of Trump and Kim standing side by side would constitute a triumph for Pyongyang. The North Koreans have long sought direct relations with senior American officials. In the past, they sometimes achieved this by bringing in Americans (such as Bill Clinton after he left office) as a condition for freeing American citizens whom they had detained.
North Korea says Trump's preconditions for talks are "preposterous"
<p>North Korea says President Trump's demand that it abandon its nuclear program as a precondition to diplomatic negotiations is "preposterous," ruling out the possibility in a new statement Sunday. On Saturday, Mr. Trump addressed the possibility of negotiations with the North during an otherwise light-hearted speech at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night.</p>"Now we are talking and they, by the way, called up a couple of days ago. They said that, 'We would like to talk.' And I said, 'So would we, but you have to denuke, you have to denuke,"' Mr. Trump told attendees at the dinner, according to a pool report of his remarks.
So a visit by a sitting American president to North Korea would be a huge gift to Kim, and it’s puzzling that our Great Dealmaker should give up so much right off the bat. It’s just plain dizzying for Trump to go from threatening in September to “totally destroy” North Korea, and later saying that his nuclear button is bigger than Kim’s, to planning a cozy summit meeting. The more normal procedure would be, first, to negotiate our way toward the summit and make sure that we extract every possible concession, and, second, make sure that the summit serves the larger goals of resolving the nuclear crisis.
That would mean first dispatching diplomats to Pyongyang to lay the groundwork and see what kind of a deal can be worked out — and, of course, to win the release of the three American detainees in North Korea. Send H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, or Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director. (Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would also be a possibility, but the North Koreans have scoffed to me that he isn’t a player in Washington.)
White House clarifies Trump-North Korea 'call'
<p>The White House said Monday that Donald Trump had been referring to a call with South Korea's leader when he appeared to suggest a landmark direct contact with the nuclear North.</p>Trump raised eyebrows at a Washington media dinner on Saturday when he said "they, by the way, called up a couple of days ago and said 'we would like to talk.
Sherpas from each side will be preparing for the summit in the next few months to work out deliverables, but by committing to make the trip by May, Trump has given up leverage and bargaining power. He’s going, which is something the North Koreans enormously want.
Frankly, another concern about a Trump-Kim summit is that our president will impetuously agree to some harebrained scheme to get a deal. (“Withdraw U.S. troops from South Korea and from Okinawa? No problem, if you’ll build a wall for me.”)
Trump has sometimes leapt into commitments in Washington meetings, only to have aides later explain that he didn’t mean what he said, but it would be far more problematic to make an inadvertent or foolish commitment to North Korea. We’ve seen with the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs that Trump doesn’t always follow the counsel of aides or seem to think through his actions, and North Korea is a far more challenging problem.
For Trump, this announcement also has the benefit of changing the topic of the headlines away from a porn actress and a Russia investigation. Maybe Trump has thought this summit through, or maybe he just wants to change the subject.
Trump hails 'possible progress' in North Korea talks
President Donald Trump hailed "possible progress" Tuesday in talks between North Korea and South Korea, hours after the US ally said that North Korea is willing to talk to the United States about giving up its nuclear program. "Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea. For the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned. The World is watching and waiting! May be false hope, but the U.S. is ready to go hard in either direction," Trump tweeted.
We also need to reassure our allies and partners in Asia, particularly South Korea and Japan, that we’re not going to willy-nilly abandon them as part of some deal with North Korea. Trump should include them in the discussions and planning.
Still, it’s encouraging that Kim issued this invitation, that he doesn’t object to resumption of U.S. military exercises, and that he apparently is talking about suspending missile and nuclear tests. The last is the most important: If he will suspend testing, then there may be a deal to be done.
Such a deal would involve North Korea giving up its nuclear program (and halting all testing) in exchange for ending sanctions and normalizing relations, with some commitments from North Korea on human rights as well.
One obvious question: Does Trump get credit for pushing the North Koreans to make concessions, such as suspension of testing?
The answer, I think, is maybe he does, in two respects.
First, Trump raised the economic pressure on North Korea with additional sanctions and extra support from China, and the pain was visible when I visited North Korea in September. Kim has tried to make rising living standards a hallmark of this leadership, and the sanctions have threatened that pillar of his legitimacy.
Second, Trump’s talk about military strikes may or may not have rattled North Korea, but they certainly horrified South Korea. The upshot was South Korea’s deft diplomatic outreach to North Korea, leading to the North Korean promise to suspend testing.
Trump: Without me 'Olympics would have been a total failure'
President Trump took credit for the success of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday. During a campaign rally for state Rep. Rick Saccone (R), who is running for Congress, Trump also took credit for a lessened threat of nuclear attack surrounding the games."I'll tell you, we did a great job on the Olympics," Trump said. "President Moon of South Korea said without Donald Trump the Olymp ics would have been a total failure.""It's a little hard to sell tickets when you think you are going to be nuked," he added.
So give Trump’s approach some credit. But there’s plenty of reason to be skeptical about where all this leads. Nobody has ever made money betting on North Korean moderation, and Kim may have unrealistic ideas about what the United States will agree to. If Kim thinks that Trump will agree to pull American troops out of the Korean Peninsula, then the summit could, er, blow up.
We still don’t really know what Kim’s expectations are, and a failed summit could trigger new escalations on each side, leaving us worse off than where we started. There’s still speculation among experts that Kim would like to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test to prove that he has missile and nuclear programs that can work as he says, and one can imagine him following a failed summit with such an atmospheric test.
For all the uncertainties, one can now envision a path forward between the United States and North Korea. It’s an exciting way forward — but it may be a dead end, at a precipice. I wish the path began with extensive discussions at the national security adviser level, and only after that, a summit, but at least it suggests a recognition on both sides that the way forward lies with talks rather than tanks.
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There is 'no way' North Korea could trust the US and give up its nuclear weapons .
<p>While the prospect of negotiations between North Korea and the US are beginning to look very promising, experts say there is "no way" North Korea trusts the US and would ever sign off on its nuclear weapons program.</p>Load Error
Trump surprised his staff with Kim Jong Un meeting
President Donald Trump sent shock waves across the globe when he accepted an invitation from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for talks. No sitting US president has ever met with a leader...
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