The time has come for US President Donald Trump to put his entrepreneurial temperament on full display. In the run-up to the US presidential election in 2020, he has a chance to attract supporters by showcasing the success of his foreign policy to the American people.
Trump has met with Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, three times, but has so far not produced any significant results.
In May 2018, before the first summit in Singapore in June 2018, North Korea invited the foreign press to observe the dismantling of a nuclear site following Kim’s pledges to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
However, unless the Yongbyon facilities, which account for more than 80% of the country’s total nuclear facilities, are permanently dismantled, this is hardly a major achievement.
Trump held a second summit with Kim in Vietnam in February this year, but it concluded without any agreement being signed. Trump suggested that not signing a bad agreement constituted a victory, but given what the world was expecting from the Hanoi summit, he may have undermined his own position at the negotiating table.
Trump has met with Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, three times, but has so far not produced any significant results
Trump met with Kim in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on June 30 during his summit with Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, making him the first sitting US president to enter North Korea.
According to Moon, Trump spent a lot more time in the DMZ than had been scheduled. Trump expressed his desire to meet Kim in the DMZ in a tweet on the morning of June 29. In an uncharactteristically spontaneous move, North Korea agreed to Trump’s proposal. The two leaders said they agreed to direct their respective officials to organize a third summit. Trump also said he would invite Kim to the White House.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US is ready to hold immediate consultations with North Korean working-level officials to arrange a third summit. The most important thing here is to change the preparation process for the summit, which has previously been carried out in a top-down manner. Officials of both countries should set the groundwork for Trump and Kim to sign an agreement on the last day of their third summit that includes the permanent denuclearization of North Korea.
Moon said he was willing to serve as a mediator between the US and North Korea. However, after the Hanoi summit, North Korea complained about Moon’s role as a mediator and stated that he should back away from the whole process of preparing for the third summit. It is by no means good news for the people of South Korea that the role of their government in a third Kim-Trump summit is shrinking. It does not make sense for the president of South Korea to step back while the leaders of the US and North Korea are discussing denuclearization and economic sanctions.
Moon should establish positive relations with Kim and support Trump’s efforts to achieve denuclearization. The South Korean government recently gave 50,000 tons of domestic rice to North Korea, which conservatives in the South consider a big mistake, but Seoul’s efforts to speed up denuclearization negotiations by deploying humanitarian aid will likely succeed.
The United States is losing quite a lot of its diplomatic influence in the international community because of its trade war with China and diplomatic friction with Iran. The best diplomatic achievement Trump can hope for is a third summit with North Korea that results in the North’s denuclearization.
The late US president Ronald Reagan made a speech in West Berlin on June 12, 1987. Reagan touched the Germans by saying “Tear down this wall” to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Trump has a chance to make such a scene by denuclearizing North Korea. I hope Trump says, “Mr Kim, Thank you for giving up your nuclear weapons” during his speech after a third summit. His achievement could go down in history.