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Washington - Could Trump Meet Kim In New York This Month? AP Takes A Look

Published on: September 14, 2018 09:05 AM
By: AP
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FILE - In this June 12, 2018, file photo, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island in Singapore. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)FILE - In this June 12, 2018, file photo, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island in Singapore. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)

Washington - In recent weeks it’s become clear that Donald Trump wants to meet with Kim Jong Un again, and the North Korean leader has told the White House he’d like more face-to-face talks with the American president.

Could that meeting happen, as some in Seoul have pushed for, on the sidelines of a U.N. gathering of world leaders in New York later this month?

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Getting Kim, the brutal, authoritarian leader of the most sanctioned country on the planet, to the home of the Yankees might seem a fantastic fever-dream. But it’s useful to remember that no analysts predicted that Trump’s surprise June summit with Kim in Singapore would be possible — until suddenly it was.

Amid worries that Washington and Pyongyang are sinking further into a standoff over the sincerity of North Korea’s nuclear disarmament intentions, Trump may believe that another high-profile summit, on his home turf and as political scandal swirls in Washington, is just the thing.

It would also play into his response to widespread criticism that the Singapore summit was a waste of time, at best, and a dangerous back-step in efforts to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, at worst.

The declaration released at the Singapore summit was widely seen as a watered-down version of past agreements, but Trump has suggested that the only result that mattered was whether he got along with the North Korean dictator. Trump claims the answer is a resounding yes.

If the mercurial leaders of two nuclear powers — and two men who had been threatening missile strikes and insulting each other’s intelligence and appearance only months earlier — can nurture this budding relationship, the argument goes, then they can keep meeting and, eventually, “solve” a nuclear impasse that has flummoxed a long line of previous U.S. and South Korean presidents and occasionally edged Northeast Asia toward fears of war.

Odds are it won’t happen in New York — the nightmare of the logistics alone would seem to doom such a meeting — but those odds are based, in part, on precedent. And Trump’s presidency, so far, has shown that the playbook used by previous U.S. leaders to confront North Korea doesn’t seem to apply to him — and, he might argue, has never worked anyway.

Here’s a look then at whether the always hectic annual U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York at the end of September will host another Trump-Kim summit:

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NEVER GONNA HAPPEN

The mind boggles a bit at the possibilities for trouble, for mishap, for chaos, should anything go wrong if the most important person in North Korea visits New York — everything from an assassination attempt to a car accident to a breach of diplomatic protocol to food poisoning could set off another Korean War.

Even Kim’s trip to Singapore — a semi-authoritarian state with close ties to North Korea — was seen as something of a gamble for the leader of a country obsessed with giving the ruling Kim dynasty the near-total security control that’s possible only in Pyongyang.

How can the North Koreans hope to control Kim’s certain exposure to democracy, capitalism and famously aggressive New Yorkers?

Although a South Korean government adviser had previously speculated about a New York summit, the difficulties involved seem to have dawned here after a South Korean official who met with Kim earlier this month said a trilateral summit among Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang at the U.N. General Assembly was unlikely to happen because conditions for such a meeting haven’t been created.

Another reason to be skeptical is that U.S. policy on North Korea can often seem to be in disarray.

Only a day after the U.S. named a new special envoy on North Korea, for instance, Trump tweet-canceled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang for nuclear negotiations. A request for comment from the U.S. State Department wasn’t immediately returned Friday.

Daniel Sneider, a specialist in international policy at Stanford University who recently met with senior U.S. administration officials dealing with North Korea, wrote last month that “the spoken, and unspoken, aim of most professionals implementing North Korea policy is to hold off President Trump from meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un again. They worry about a repeat of the June spectacle in Singapore when Trump made significant concessions that undercut their attempts to seriously negotiate with the North.”

Let that stunning paragraph sink in for a while. If true, it means very smart senior U.S. officials are trying to thwart their own president and keep another summit from happening.

There’s also worry in Seoul.

The Korea JoongAng Daily recently noted “a major risk” of another summit, speculating that Trump could settle for a “makeshift compromise to show off a feat on North Korea ahead of the midterm elections in November” and allow an “incomplete denuclearization package if Pyongyang vows to stop and dismantle its intercontinental ballistic missile program. That could be the worst scenario for South Korea.”

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BUT THEN AGAIN ...

All that said — it’s hard to stand in the way of two forceful leaders’ wishes. And they seem to be wishing for a summit.

The White House press secretary recently said that a letter from Kim to Trump indicated a desire to meet again, and that plans for another summit were underway.

If that’s true, why not in New York, something previously suggested by Seoul? A summit next week in Pyongyang between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who orchestrated the Singapore summit, to the shock of maybe everyone, is seen, in part, as an attempt to set something up between Trump and Kim.

For Moon, U.S.-North Korea dialogue is crucial because he likely realizes the futility of pushing forward with his ambitious engagement plans with the North without his chief ally being on board.

Another argument for the New York possibility: Kim seems to enjoy the spotlight.

In Singapore he looked at ease before the world press, taking a late-night stroll along the city-state’s beautiful shoreline, grinning as people snapped photos and called out his name. It also allows him to continue to pursue better ties, and more concessions, from Washington as he pivots from a focus on a nuclear program he claims is complete to his push to make his people prosperous — and to prolong his rule.

For Trump, a summit in his back yard might be a welcome distraction from the spiraling domestic troubles around his presidency, and allow a continuation of his argument that since Singapore was a getting-to-know-you situation, subsequent meetings would be where the real nuclear diplomacy would happen.

Of course, the problem with making any major progress on the nuclear issue beholden to the good chemistry of the leaders is that even if they meet for a second round, they may then have to keep meeting or risk seeing the process sink into a mire of inaction and bickering — which is just what seems to be happening now.



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Read Comments (7)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Sep 14, 2018 at 09:25 AM Educated Archy Says:

Let me remind all you nay Sayers who made peace with China ? Nixon the disgraced suppositley incompetent and corrupt president . Who brought down tne iron curtain? ( Tear that wall down ) Regean. That's right the man everyone said is senile . The man who people discussed invoking the 25th amendment . The man with the big Iran contra scandal .

So to all you naysayers , we heard all your garbage already . The truth is the more a president accomplishes the more you try to bring him down .

Trump will make peace with N Korea yet . And America will be great again like it was under Nixon and Regean

2

 Sep 14, 2018 at 01:12 PM Phineas Says:

You did it again. You created a false straw man and attacked it. Nixon was NOT perceived as incompetent. His talent was undeniable. He broke the law.

This has no similarity. A central goal of Nixon’s rapprochement with China was to use Beijing as a wedge against the Soviet Union—what Nixon called “triangular diplomacy.” Recognizing (eventually) Red China was indeed a concession to brutal, repressive regime, but it served a larger strategic and moral goal—containing and ultimately defeating the far more dangerous Soviet Union. Trump faced no such pressure and got no such linkage benefit. (Robert Kelly: Pusan University Professor of International Relations)

As for Reagan, two academic studies demonstrated that he had onset of Alzheimer's while still in office but that did not mean he could not substantially perform the job. The Soviet Union's demise was only accelerated by Reagan. It was economically doomed to fail irrespective of U.S. actions.

I think Trump was right to meet with Kim. He doesn't have denuclearization to show for it but Kim has at least stopped testing missiles for now.

3

 Sep 14, 2018 at 02:47 PM hashomer Says:

Let Herr Trumpf meet w his friend Tyrant Un. It will bring attention to his last nothing burger summit and pro-dictator foreign 'policy'. He's already cancelled his trip to Ireland due to planned protests there. Total Yutz. How's Manafart doing lately?

4

 Sep 14, 2018 at 03:33 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
hashomer Says:

Let Herr Trumpf meet w his friend Tyrant Un. It will bring attention to his last nothing burger summit and pro-dictator foreign 'policy'. He's already cancelled his trip to Ireland due to planned protests there. Total Yutz. How's Manafart doing lately?

Trump derangement syndrome. Nothing but childish name calling. What a genius.

5

 Sep 15, 2018 at 08:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Trump will meet again with Kim Jon Un, and they will make peace; N. Korea may not get rid of all of their nuclear arsenal, but at least there will be peace in Korea, for the first time, ever!
Incidentally, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger were brilliant, pertaining to their 1972 trip to China, and their meeting with Chou en Lai, and Mao Tse Tung, as it acted as a buffer against the Russians, and it assisted with us with the termination of the Vietnam War, since the Russians were supplying North Vietnam, with anti-aircraft, and other weapons.

6

 Sep 15, 2018 at 09:44 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #2  
Phineas Says:

You did it again. You created a false straw man and attacked it. Nixon was NOT perceived as incompetent. His talent was undeniable. He broke the law.

This has no similarity. A central goal of Nixon’s rapprochement with China was to use Beijing as a wedge against the Soviet Union—what Nixon called “triangular diplomacy.” Recognizing (eventually) Red China was indeed a concession to brutal, repressive regime, but it served a larger strategic and moral goal—containing and ultimately defeating the far more dangerous Soviet Union. Trump faced no such pressure and got no such linkage benefit. (Robert Kelly: Pusan University Professor of International Relations)

As for Reagan, two academic studies demonstrated that he had onset of Alzheimer's while still in office but that did not mean he could not substantially perform the job. The Soviet Union's demise was only accelerated by Reagan. It was economically doomed to fail irrespective of U.S. actions.

I think Trump was right to meet with Kim. He doesn't have denuclearization to show for it but Kim has at least stopped testing missiles for now.

Tricky yoni again. With god Wikipedia facts . It's has every similarty. No two things are exactly the same . But at the end of the day china and n Korea were both brutal and so called " corrupt " USA presidents brought them down .

FYI Nixon was a shikkur who abused alchohl and had rages . I don't call that capable .

Regean was just fine and he had no Alzheimer's when president . Nonsense fake news . And no russia would have survived . They were fine if not for Regean who brought them down .

Revisionist half baked history . Aka fake news

7

 Sep 16, 2018 at 11:13 AM Anonymous Says:

To #6- Although Trump doesn't drink, he still has rages, and an anger management problem; he routinely verbally abuses, belittles, screams at, harasses, and embarrasses his staff, and his generals. quite frequently. The only ones whom he doesn't yell out are Melania and Ivanka, as they would not stand for that. Also, why doesn't he spend more time with Barron?

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