South Korea’s national security advisor has announced that President Donald Trump has agreed to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to attempt to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear efforts.
Chung Eui-yong, after meeting with Trump and administration officials in the White House, announced Trump had agreed to the meeting “to achieve permanent denuclearization.” Last Tuesday South Korean envoys announced that Kim had discussed denuclearization with them and would not resume nuclear tests during the discussions.
Sarah Sanders Huckabee, the White House press secretary, confirmed that Trump had accepted a meeting “at a place and time to be determined.” She further stated that all pressure and sanctions would remain in place in the meantime until an agreement is reached.
Trump tweeted, “Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that the talks would be “some weeks away” as the place, time and conditions still have to be determined.
Both Russia and China have made positive noises, China calling for talks to begin as soon as possible, but would “not be smooth sailing” and Russia saying its a “step in the right direction.”
Author’s note: This could conceivably be the most important achievement of the Trump Presidency, the denuclearization of North Korea, possibly leading to its reunification with South Korea. Jimmy Carter tried and failed, Bill Clinton tried and failed, and the others didn’t even try, leading to a hostile and insane North Korea on the brink of being a nuclear power.
China is correct, this will not be smooth sailing. If talks falter, it could become fodder for the U.S. mid-term elections. To me, it’s only a 50-50 bet that they will actually meet in this round. Look for shenanigans by North Korea designed to get concessions or derail the talks, such as trying to circumvent the sanctions or secret nuclear tests. But Trump is an exceptional negotiator and knows how to be patient when necessary.