It’s impossible to say if this is just another tease or if we’re close to a formal agreement, but the President is specifically stating that another summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is in the works and we should expect it in the next couple of months. The President made this announcement aboard Air Force One on his way back from the G-20 summit. (NBC News)
President Donald Trump has said he will likely hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un early in the New Year and that three locations were being considered.
The president — who was returning from the G-20 summit in Argentina — told reporters aboard Air Force One that a second summit may happen in “January or February.”
“We have actually talked about three sites, we haven’t determined the sites,” he said.
Trump said he had a “good relationship” with the North Korean leader and stressed that the negotiations to denuclearize the Korean peninsula had only been going on six to seven months. “Not a long time,” he said.
So through whichever channels are now open, the United States and North Korea have been discussing “three sites” where the summit might be held. We’ll get back to the wisdom and timing of this summit in a moment, but where do you suppose they’re talking about holding a meeting? I would hope that nobody in DHS or the Secret Service is thinking of approving a trip to Pyongyang. It would also be distasteful in the extreme to have Kim in Washington. But Trump has mentioned the possibility of New York City before. Could that be it?
No doubt Kim Jong-un would be over the moon if he was invited to the Big Apple. That’s particularly true because he’s well known to love western culture and entertainment. But that joy would be multiplied if he was invited to stand there on the global stage with the leader of the free world. He would be achieving the international recognition and sense of respect he has always craved.
That would, of course, be a terrible decision on Trump’s part. While a cessation of missile testing and nuclear detonations is a welcome change, Kim has done little or nothing to merit such honored status or treatment. Even his recent work in opening the DMZ, while a positive sign, has really done nothing to ameliorate his dangerous nature. Given his horrendous human rights record, it would be insulting to offer Kim such an honor.
But where else would they go and who would have the North Korean despot as a guest except Singapore or China? I suppose Brussels would put up with him as they’ve rarely seen a communist or socialist despot they didn’t like. But Trump’s decidedly non-globalist attitude probably rules that one out. Canada is closer to home and Justin Trudeau might be willing to offer Kim a hug. And it would be easier to control the security situation.
I’ve got a suggestion if the White House would care to consider it. How about Guam? (Assuming it doesn’t tip over.) That’s “sort of America” without being on the mainland and we can easily handle any security concerns. And Kim could even get in some scuba diving.
While I remain uncomfortable with the President holding summits with North Korea until they do more to deliver transparency in terms of all of their nuclear sites and show progress on denuclearization, I can see the potential benefit of doing this. But let’s not give away the store up front. Kim and his family are still monsters who don’t merit being treated as respected world leaders. Sometimes international diplomacy requires the occasional distasteful maneuver, but this summit can be held without pretending that Kim Jong-un is suddenly a respectable figure.
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