As announced on Thursday, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are supposed to meet by May to discuss denuclearisation of North Korea and prospects for long-term peace on the Korean peninsula. If it indeed takes place, this will be the first-ever meeting between leaders of the two countries.
The surprise announcement to the journalists came from a South Korean official, who after meeting with Donald Trump stated that the leader of North Korea invited the US president to meet as soon as possible, and that Trump accepted the invitation.
The uneven public statements of the US officials seem to reflect their confusion and struggle to keep pace with president’s decisions, but judging by what has been said so far, the US will not give up the hardline stance, nor offer concessions until North Korea produces proof of denuclearisation. Sanctions will remain until North Korea begins reversing its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
Regarding the matter, president Trump tweeted: „Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!“
At the Pennsylvania rally, he said: “I may leave fast or we may sit down and make the greatest deal for the world.”
Pyongyang had not issued an official statement on the summit plans, so it is still not clear whether Kim is willing to limit his arsenal and what is he planning to request in return. More than 20 years have passed since the 1994 Agreed Framework, a previous deal between the US and North Korea. Since then, North Korea has constantly criticized Washington’s “hostile policies”, primarily its military presence on and around the Korean peninsula.
The meeting is fraught with risk and there is concern that Trump’s administration may go into it unprepared and with a hastily assembled plan for negotiation. However, this is a chance to make things better, and should not be missed. The exact time and place of the meeting are yet to be determined.