It's the will-they-won't-they geopolitical relationship drama that's keeping the international realm on its toes. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader have scheduled, cancelled, and now possibly re-scheduled the historic summit meeting between the two nations. On Sunday, via his Twitter account, the president announced that his team had traveled to North Korea to "make arrangements" for the meeting, a sign that the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un seems to be back on track, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The latest presidential tweet on the potential meeting between these two idiosyncratic leaders was positive in tone, with Trump writing that he believes "North Korea has brilliant potential" and a future as a "great economic and financial Nation [sic] one day." He ends on a confident note, declaring, "It will happen!"
Back on March 5, President Trump carved a notch into his diplomacy belt after he announced a mutual agreement to a summit between the United States and North Korea, an unprecedented move by a sitting United States president. The summit was originally scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. Then, in mid-May, tensions over denuclearization and military exercises erupted in harsh remarks made by North Korea. By May 24, Trump had called the summit off in a letter to Kim, saying the "tremendous anger and open hostility" in Kim's remarks now rendered the summit "inappropriate." The two had conciliatory statements back and forth over the next couple of days.
The president's Sunday tweet, according to the Chicago Tribune, refers to a team that the State Department has sent to Panmunjom, a "truce village" area that sits on the border inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ). The DMZ acts as the demarcation between North and South Korea. The team, made up of technical experts and diplomats, are making this visit to meet with their counterparts, according to the New York Times. At the head is veteran diplomat Sun Kim, whose goal is to gain a commitment from Kim about his country's complete denuclearization.
Of course, the possibility of this summit popping back on to the presidential calendar was always there; President Trump's reportedly overeager response to the summit invitation and his Nobel Peace Prize comment show how much he wants this as a part of his legacy, according to the New York Times. His letter to Kim, while forward in boasting about the United States' nuclear capabilities, still left some room to make nice again: President Trump called their communication "wonderful dialogue" and said that he looked "very much forward to meeting" Kim. He also called Kim's release of the American hostages a "beautiful gesture." The letter ends with an open offer, handing off the next move to North Korea:
If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history.
The response to the letter from North Korea was receptive. “We express our willingness to sit down face-to-face with the US and resolve issues anytime and in any format,” North Korean vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement, according to the Guardian. “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.” This led to an appeased tweet from Trump on Friday night.
Now, it seems the summit has progressed beyond talks. United States officials have taken their furthest step yet, with an actual presence on North Korea's border to discuss denuclearization specifics. It seems the historic meeting may be back on course — but then again, with both leaders' temperaments, the world will have to hold its breath until the summit day arrives.