Trump on Friday confirmed that his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will indeed be taking place on June 12th in Singapore.
The announcement followed an extended meeting between Trump and North Korean official Kim Yong-chol, who delivered a personal note from Chairman Kim Jong-un.
“This was literally going to be the delivery of a letter and it ended up being a two-hour conversation with the second most powerful man in North Korea,” said Trump.
The two leaders spoke about a future peace treaty to end the Korean War and discussed international sanctions that have crippled North Korea’s economy. Trump, who suggested there were “hundreds” of additional punishments in the works, promised no new sanctions would be imposed while the two nations are “talking so nicely.”
Kim’s visit to Washington (and his admittance into the Oval Office) represent a significant turn of events in relations between North Korea and the US.
Kim, a former spy chief, was personally sanctioned by the US for his role in the peninsula’s nuclear program and is believed to have organized an attack that killed 46 South Korean sailors in 2010. He had to obtain a special waiver from the State Department just to visit the US capital.
Less than two weeks ago, Trump canceled his summit with Kim Jong-un over North Korea’s “tremendous anger and open hostility” towards the US. Two days later, Trump suggested the summit was still a possibility and the State Department confirmed officials from both sides would be meeting in the DMZ and in Singapore to make preparations for the summit.
When he confirmed the summit Friday, Trump made it clear that denuclearization is not likely to occur during the first meeting. “I never said it goes in one meeting,” said Trump. “I think it’s going to be a process. But the relationships are building, and that’s a very positive thing.”
Trump has portrayed the highly anticipated summit as a “getting to know you meeting-plus,” leading experts to assume Trump’s strategy to establish personal ties with the young dictator.
“I think what Trump is banking on is that he can form a personal relationship and convince Kim in a one-on-one setting that the United States is no threat,” said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest.
Editor’s note: This is for sure now, Trump’s negotiation strategy is paying off.