Trump's bet on a North Korea summit is looking riskier than ever

Posted April 26, 2018

South Korea's National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong and his United States counterpart John Bolton met in Washington on Tuesday and agreed that Moon and Trump should exchange views after the Seoul-Pyongyang summit through a possible meeting between the two in May.

Although the two previous summits were credited with reducing tension and improving inter-Korean relations, the liberal South Korean governments who participated also came under fire for providing "unconditional" economic aid to the North.

Seoul also planned three days of extensive, closed-door dress rehearsals, one of them involving North Korean officials, leading up to the summit Friday.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai was responding to questions from reporters who noted that Bangkok was one of several possible venues mentioned for such a summit, which Trump said could take place in early June to discuss North Korea's denuclearization. "But such a sharp change could take place only if the U.S. offers Pyongyang attractive rewards", the newspaper posits, suggesting that "rewards" are necessary because there is no "strategic mutual trust" between the United States and North Korea.

PRESIDENT TRUMP and the governments of North Korea and South Korea are combining to create sky-high expectations for a diplomatic breakthrough on the North's nuclear program.

On Tuesday his enthusiasm reached an unseemly climax: "Kim Jong Un", he said of a dictator who has brutally murdered would-be rivals and maintains the world's largest gulag, "really has been very open and I think very honorable from everything we're seeing". Residents in South Korea, China and Japan are at risk of radioactive exposure because the toxins could be exposed through the holes and cracks. Nor would a unified Korea be acceptable to China, a country central to handling the peninsula.

Commentary: With more freedom to maneuver on foreign than domestic affairs, and with their eyes focused squarely on their legacies, all modern USA presidents have sought to craft the elusive deal that will solve a protracted global conflict.

USA officials say they want to see significant demolition of North Korean nuclear facilities to offer significant sanctions relief. It is likely though that Mr. Kim will want to reduce North Korea's dependence on China over the longer term. -North Korea meeting is particularly hard to predict because both Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump are unpredictable and prone to dramatic gestures.

Jeong also said topics like the definition of denuclearisation, and what it means in practice, are being thrashed out during the run-up to the summit.

The islands are now controlled by South Korea but also claimed by Tokyo.

Last year, after conducting its most powerful nuclear test ever and saying it had successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile, North Korea announced that its nuclear programme was complete.

"But recently they are focusing on their own nuclear weapons". Kim sent his sister to Pyeongchang with a summit invitation for Moon, and the two Koreas marched together at the opening ceremony and formed a single women's hockey team.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suspended the country's nuclear and missile tests last week and closed the Punggye-re facility.

Of its six nuclear tests, North Korea has conducted five at the Punggye-ri test site.

"Unlike past administrations, I will leave the table", he said. "Ironically, it gave the North time to refine its nuclear technology".