Trump suggests summit with North Korea's Kim could be delayed

26 May 2018, 12:04 | Andres Norman

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If Kim's summit with Trump is called off or fails, that would be "a blow to Moon and his engagement strategy and to President Trump, who has credited his own pressure campaign as bringing North Korea to the table", Jannuzi said.

Scott Snyder, director of the Program on U.S. -Korea Policy at the Council of Foreign Relations, said there's a risk that "the ceremony and the historic nature of the meeting be allowed to overshadow the deliverables".

Moon sought to project optimism after his meeting with Trump.

Mr Trump had repeatedly said the talks were shaping up well, even calling Mr Kim nice for releasing three American hostages held for more than a year. And the North threatened to abandon the planned Trump-Kim meeting over USA insistence on denuclearizing the peninsula, issuing a harshly worded missive that the White House dismissed as a negotiating ploy.

The president said he intends to nominate Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., who now serves as the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, to be the American ambassador to South Korea, according to a statement from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

"They only talked very vaguely about the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula".

Mr Lee Jong Seok, who served as South Korea's unification minister in the later years of the Roh administration, said the two sides seized on different lessons from Libya.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) steps out of his Air Force One, along with his wife Kim Jung-sook, after arriving at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on May 21, 2018, for a two-day trip to Washington that will include a bilateral summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. Moon is scheduled to hold talks with the USA chief executive on Tuesday in Washington.

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Trump attempted to assuage Kim's concerns last week, promising "protections" should he abandon his nuclear weapons.

The Cheong Wa Dae officials said Moon will likely tell Trump what to expect and what not to expect when the latter meets Kim next month.

Concrete gains for Trump would be slower to emerge. Trump said he was displeased by China's softening of border enforcement measures against North Korea.

One official said the priority of the talks in Singapore would be to reach a topline understanding with Kim, with details to be fleshed out later.

The biggest problem comes, experts here say, from Mr Trump's fundamental misunderstanding of North Korea's interests. Such an agreement could provide Kim more assurances that his leadership would be secure. That meeting produced images of the two Korean leaders speaking without translators, smiling and walking back and forth across the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two nations.

Victor Cha, a professor at Georgetown University and former White House official, said the best outcome would be "good optics, good atmospherics, some broad statements on denuclearization and peace, and some immediate deliverable". But he added that as of now, "we're driving on". He said North Korea could "not hide a feeling of repugnance towards" Mr Bolton, a man the regime had previously derided as "human scum" and a "bloodsucker". "He seems to think the United States can fight another war on the Korean Peninsula, so from our perspective, as the people living on the Korean Peninsula, he is very unsafe".

Laying the political groundwork, Vice-President Mike Pence, in an interview with Fox News, said both the Clinton and Bush administrations had been "played" by the North Korean government.

At the recent inter-Korean summit Moon got Kim to affirm a broad commitment to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons and that opened the door for Trump and Kim to negotiate a more detailed agreement to end North Korea's nuclear program. Trump said Thursday while meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the White House.

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