SEOEL – Foster Klug
Get ready for Trump-Kim, part two.
Over the past few weeks it has become clear that Donald Trump wants to meet Kim Jong Un again, and the North Korean leader has told the White House that he would like more personal talks with the US president.
Could this meeting take place, as some have tried to do in Seoul, on the sidelines of a U.N. meeting of world leaders in New York this month?
Getting Kim – the brutal, authoritarian leader of the most sanctioned country on the planet – at the home of the Yankees may seem like a fever dream. But it is useful to remember that no analysts predicted that the surprising June summit of Trump with Kim in Singapore would be possible – until suddenly the case.
Amid concerns that Washington and Pyongyang sink further into the candid nature of North Korea's intentions in the field of nuclear disarmament, Trump may believe that another high-profile summit on his home front and as a political scandal in Washington is exactly that.
It would also respond to the widespread criticism that the Singapore summit was at best waste of time and, in the worst case, a dangerous step back in the attempt to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons.
The statement released at the Singapore Summit was generally seen as a diluted version of previous agreements, but Trump has suggested that the only result that mattered was whether he could get along with the North Korean dictator. Trump claims that the answer is a resounding yes.
If the mercurial leaders of two nuclear forces – men who had threatened a rocket threatening each other's intelligence and appearance just months before – could cherish this budding relationship, the argument goes, they can continue to meet and, eventually, & # 39; solving & # 39; a nuclear stalemate that has made a long line of former presidents from the US and South Korea dishonorable and occasionally caused Northeast Asia to move towards fear of war.
Chances are that it will not happen in New York – the nightmare of logistics alone seems to break such an encounter – and there are currently no signs that the White House is preparing for such a sit-down. But Trump's presidency has so far shown that the playing book that former US leaders used to confront North Korea does not seem to apply to him – and he could claim that it never worked.
Here is a look at the question of whether the always hectic annual general meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in New York will organize a new Trump-Kim Summit at the end of September:
Never going to happen
The mind looks a little bit at the possibilities for problems, accidents and chaos if something goes wrong when the main person in North Korea goes to New York – everything from an assassination attempt to a car accident or a violation of the diplomatic protocol to food poisoning from another Korean war.
Even Kim's journey to Singapore – a semi-authoritarian state with close ties to North Korea – was seen as a gamble for the leader of a country obsessed by the ruling Kim dynasty with almost total control over security to give, which is only possible in Pyongyang. How can the North Koreans hope to master Kim's confident exposure to democracy, capitalism and famously aggressive New Yorkers?
Although a South Korean government advisor had previously speculated about a New York summit, the difficulties in Seoul appear to have arisen after a South Korean official who met Kim earlier this month said a summit in Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang during the General Meeting of the UN It is unlikely that this will happen because no conditions have been set for such a meeting.
Another reason to be skeptical is that the American policy on North Korea often seems to be confused.
Just one day after the US called a new special envoy in North Korea, Trump canceled the journey from Minister Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang for nuclear negotiations.
In Washington, the Foreign Office said it had nothing to say about a possible meeting.
Daniel Sneider, a specialist in international policy at Stanford University, who has recently met with high-ranking US government officials dealing with North Korea, wrote last month that "the spoken and unspoken goal of most North Korean professionals To implement policies, President Trump has been kept from meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un again, and worried about repeating the June spectacle in Singapore when Trump made substantial concessions that undermined their attempts to be serious about the North. negotiate. "
Let that overwhelming paragraph sink in. If that is true, it means that very clever older American officials are trying to thwart their own president and keep a new top.
There is also care in Seoul.
The Korea JoongAng Daily recently noted "a big risk" from another summit, speculating that Trump could accept a "preliminary compromise to deliver a performance on North Korea prior to the November interim elections" and a " incomplete denuclearization package as Pyongyang vows to stop and dismantle his intercontinental ballistic missile program, which could be the worst scenario for South Korea. & # 39;
But then again …
That said, it is difficult to get in the way of the desire of two powerful leaders. And they seem to wish for a top.
The press secretary of the White House recently said that a letter from Kim to Trump expressed a desire to meet again and that plans for a new summit were under way.
If that is true, why not in New York, something previously suggested by Seoul? A summit in Pyongyang in the coming week between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in – who orchestrated the Singapore summit, to the horror of everyone – is partly seen as an attempt to establish something between Trump and Kim.
For the moon, the dialogue between the US and North Korea is crucial, because he probably realizes that it is not useful to continue his ambitious engagement plans with the North without his most important ally on board.
Another argument for the opportunity in New York: Kim seems to enjoy the spotlight.
In Singapore he looked at the world press at ease, made a late night walk along the city's beautiful coastline and grinned as people took pictures and called his name. It also allows him to pursue better ties – and more concessions – from Washington, while he focuses on a focus on the nuclear program, which he claims is complete, to make his people prosperous – and his reign.
For Trump, a summit in his backyard could be a welcome distraction from the spiraling domestic problems surrounding his presidency and a continuation of his argument would allow Singapore to make an acquaintance, next meetings where real nuclear diplomacy would happen.
Of course, the problem with booking great progress is due to the chemistry of the leaders, that even if they meet for a second round at the nuclear point, they might have to keep meeting or at risk of seeing the process. bags of mud of idleness and bickering – that is exactly what seems to be happening now.