Addressing the elephant in the room

Trump says advance team in North Korea to make arrangement for coming summit

make arrangements

President Trump tweeted today that an US advance team is in North Korea to make arrangements for the coming summit. Just last week the summit and peace in the Korea’s seemed to be falling apart as North Korea took offence to Vice President Pence referencing the Gaddafi model. A Senior North Korea official responded by calling Pence a stupid idiot.

That followed by North Korea canceling a summit with South Korea led the President Friday morning to cancel the planned summit. North Korea responded Friday night that they still very much wanted to hold the summit. So the on again off again summit is on again.

“Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself,” he tweeted. “I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day. Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this. It will happen!”

South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, gave details about his surprise meeting Saturday with Kim in the Panmunjom truce village, saying Kim had committed to sitting down with Trump and to a “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tapped veteran American diplomat Sung Kim to handle pre-summit negotiations. On a separate but complementary track was the CIA team Pompeo set up last year when he headed the spy agency. And on a third track was a White House logistical group sent to Singapore on Sunday to prepare in case the summit takes place. It was led by Joe Hagin, White House deputy chief of staff for operations.

Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, also served as ambassador to South Korea and was part of the U.S. negotiating team that last held substantive denuclearization talks with North Korea during the George W. Bush administration in 2005.

“What Kim is unclear about is that he has concerns about whether his country can surely trust the United States over its promise to end hostile relations (with North Korea) and provide a security guarantee if they do denuclearization,” Moon said.

“During the South Korea-U.S. summit, President Trump said the U.S. is willing to clearly put an end to hostile relations (between the U.S. and North Korea) and help (the North) achieve economic prosperity if North Korea conducts denuclearization,” he said.

It is understandable that there are trust issues to be overcome on both sides of the negotiation.  It is unclear if we will be successful but President Trump has done what none of his predecessors have been able to do.

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