President Trump seems to have emerged from the summit with North Korea with a very high degree of confidence that the situation there has been handled. Trump put in writing yesterday that “there is no longer a nuclear threat of North Korea”. Interestingly, North Korean state media also reported the meeting as a major success, but did not mention denuclearization at all. Trump did backtrack a bit, saying “I may be wrong. I mean, I may stand before you in six months and say ‘Hey, I was wrong’. I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse”.
FINSUM: We think this summit was a success and that Kim has played the whole situation very sharply. Our only concern is the lack of detail about how North Korea will actually go about denuclearizing.
The long-awaited, and hotly contested US-North Korea summit between President Trump and North Korea leader Kim went very well yesterday. The summit lasted for hours and resulted in a commitment from North Korea to denuclearize in exchange for the US pledging security guarantees for the country. Trump said the two signed a “very important” document. Trump reported that “My meeting with Chairman Kim was honest, direct and productive … We are prepared to start a new history ... and write a new chapter between our nations”.
FINSUM: For the first time we got the feeling that North Korea has played this whole situation very slyly. They built up nuclear capabilities (probably) simply to have a better bargaining position, and it appears to be working.
First it was North Korea calling the summit into question, and then this week President Trump cancelled the meeting entirely. Now, despite Trump’s cancellation, Pyongyang says it will still meet with the US. Just minutes after Trump cancelled the summit, a senior North Korean leader said “We had set in high regards President Trump's efforts, unprecedented by any other president, to create a historic North Korea-US summit … We tell the United States once more that we are open to resolving problems at any time in any way”.
FINSUM: While it might be a bluff, we take it as an encouraging sign that North Korea is so eager to meet with the US.
US president Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have been planning a groundbreaking summit in the near future. The meeting has been touted for months as breakthrough in relations, especially following the friendly developments between North and South Korea recently. However, the whole meeting is now in doubt as North Korea has threatened to cancel. The country is angry over US-South Korea joint military training operations and does not want to be forced into a corner by the US over its nuclear program.
FINSUM: We are not foreign policy experts, but if the US wants to make progress with North Korea, we should make sure to keep them calm enough to meet with us. What happens thereafter is a separate decision.
In what is being seen as similar to Nixon’s China moment, President Trump has agreed to a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The meeting will take place within the next few months and the location has not been determined. It is very unusual for two top leaders to meet without a series of lower officials meeting first, but the White House says the approach is suitable in this situation because Un in the only one qualified to make decisions in the very authoritarian regime.
FINSUM: This is a sign of progress after 60 years of conflict, but it also raises the stakes for both sides.