Facebook: Meeting with Kim Jong Un

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has often been publicly contradicted by the White House over North Korea, including on Thursday when just hours before the announcement of a summit he said "we are a long ways from negotiations". Based on previous North Korean behavior and Pyongyang's record of duplicity, it is likely that a USA envoy will find that Kim Jong-un, a master tactician, is not prepared to so easily surrender his "treasured sword" just because President Trump asks him to. But the meeting may also be a ploy by Kim to buy time to ideal his weapons and wriggle out of punishing economic sanctions. It is not understood how the Korean Dictator has changed color so suddenly. As a presidential candidate he famously suggested meeting with U.S. enemies, and ended up relaunching Washington's relationships with Cuba and Iran as president.

Richard Nixon flew to the Soviet capital in 1972, the first visit to Moscow by a sitting US president, for a week of meetings with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

With reality-show flair, Trump built suspense for the announcement by making an impromptu visit to the White House briefing room.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump has spoken with a number of world leaders after he was briefed on North Korean by the visiting South Korean national security adviser.

He said while the White House hoped the encounter would "bear fruit", officials remained "cautious".

"We've accepted the invitation to talk based on them following through on concrete actions on the promises they've made", Sanders said Friday.

"We should recognize that North Korea's going to want something in return", he noted. "There are 70 years of historical baggage between the two countries ... so to have the meeting in a place that's a safe location and one that doesn't overly highlight the differences between the two countries would probably be the best".

While acknowledging North Korea's policy shift, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed in a meeting with reporters that, "Maximum pressure will continue to be applied until concrete actions are taken [by North Korea]".

"And I think Trump's approach has had a pretty good impact in both of those directions already".

Tillerson did not define the precise difference between talks and negotiations, and it was unclear what there was for the two countries - still technically at war - would have to discuss if not a deal to address concerns about the North's nuclear weapons program.

Mr Chung said Mr Trump had agreed to meet by May in response to Mr Kim's invitation. "The catch, of course, is what it would take to remove the threat is very elastic and very extensive". And then there is the question of human rights and democracy for the North Korean people; never a priority for Trump, will they be left by the wayside? "Otherwise he will possibly come out of the meeting not knowing what's been agreed to".

As you may have noticed from the timeline above, North Korean nuclear milestones tend to occur around the month of October. They have no interest in embarrassing Trump.

On Friday, India praised the purported meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

But substantial negotiations will likely prove frustrating.

It is worrying that the posts of US ambassador to South Korea and special representative for North Korea policy remain unfilled. "A stalemate that gives Kim a photo-op for nothing in return could fracture U.S. alliances and be seen as a devastating embarrassment", the daily said.

In the past, the ultimate success of a summit relied on the diplomatic spade work that the Trump administration disdains. This policy involved decades of mounting sanctions and acrimony.

If all else fails, Rodman stands ready.

The Trump administration has continuously pressured China to rein in its nuclear neighbor, and China has taken steps to reduce bilateral trade and cut business ties, putting unprecedented pressure on the North's economy.

  • Leroy Wright