Is The North Korea Summit Happening? Trump Keeps Going Back & Forth
President Trump may have gotten ahead of himself when he entertained the "Nobel" prize chants from his supporters at a rally last month. The summit with North Korea that he was selling at the time was cancelled. But now it seems like it could be back on. Since you're probably wondering if the North Korea summit is even happening, you'll need to understand the back and forth from Trump on the matter. The most recent information would suggest it's not confirmed but is tentatively a go.
The summit was announced in March when Trump said he agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Preparations continued for the following months until May 15, when North Korea threatened to pull out of the deal if the United States and South Korea continued with their military exercises.
Trump then beat them to it, announcing that the United States would not participate on Thursday. Trump wrote a letter to the North Koreans bragging about the U.S. nuclear arsenal and noting that he hopes not to use it. But he did leave the door open for a meeting. "If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write," Trump said in the letter. Even South Korea was caught off guard.
Then North Korea’s vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan spoke nicely in a statement released Friday. “Our commitment to doing our best for the sake of peace and stability for the world and the Korean Peninsula remains unchanged, and we are open-minded in giving time and opportunity to the U.S.," he wrote.
That mollified Trump, apparently. The latest news came from Trump on Twitter and reverses his position — all within 24 hours.
"We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th., and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date," Trump posted to the social network on Friday night. He repeated the sentiment to reporters in the White House on Saturday night.
The North Koreans also seem intent on making the meeting take place. Kim met with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in in a surprise meeting on Saturday. Moon said the North seemed intent on meeting. According to Moon, Kim "once again has made clear his will for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and expressed his intent to settle the history of war and confrontation, and to cooperate for peace and prosperity through the success of the North Korea-US summit."
The hangup that Kim and North Korea have is on how to ensure their safety afterward. "What is unclear to Chairman Kim Jong Un is not the will for denuclearization, but the concern that if (North Korea) denuclearizes, whether the U.S. can end hostile relations and guarantee the security of the (Kim) regime," Moon told reporters.
Another sign that the summit will take place is the presence of a U.S. team of diplomats had traveled to North Korea on Sunday. The Washington Post reported that Sung Kim, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, had crossed the border into the North with a team of diplomats. The paper reported that the preparation talks for the summit would continue at the border on Monday and Tuesday.
Trump has not officially agreed to the meeting, but it seems that everyone else involved is proceeding ahead as though it were still on. There are some doubts that the entire summit can be planned with such short notice.
If Trump does fly to Singapore in June, the diplomatic team will have a lot of work to do.