Before the meeting between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, Trump has come to some conclusions. He has said that Kim has been “very open” and “very honorable,” which is quite a different assessment of what he used to say in the past. Just as a reminder, Trump called Kim “Little Rocket Man.”
The summit between the two countries will be held in May or June, and the leaders are going to discuss Pyongyang’s nuclear program. So far, Trump has been optimistic about the meeting, and he has said that the two sides were having “good discussions.” At the White House, with French President Emmanuel Macron by his side, Trump has stated: “We have been told directly that they would like to have the meeting as soon as possible. We think that’s a great thing for the world. Kim Jong Un, he really has been very open and I think very honorable from everything we’re seeing.”
However, Trump is not entering the talks without caution. He pointed out that North Korea hasn’t fulfilled previous promises, but he has acknowledged the fact that Pyongyang is forced to organize such a summit thanks to his administration and pressure put by the United States allies as well as sanctions imposed on North Korea. As for the outcome of the meeting, Trump said: “We’ll see where that all goes. Maybe it will be wonderful or maybe it won’t.”
On Saturday, North Korea confirmed that they were willing to close the nuclear testing facility and stop with the intercontinental ballistic missile tests, which is something Donald Trump approves of and considers it to be “big progress.” Even though they are willing to stop the testing, North Korea will not get rid of their nuclear weapons. The term ‘denuclearization’ means different for the two leaders, but Trump clarified what it meant to him. He said: “It means they get rid of their nukes. Very simple.” He also added: “It would be easy for me to make a simple deal and declare victory. I don’t want to do that.”
Later this week, the meeting between Moon Jae-in, South Korean president and Kim Jong-Un will be held in the Demilitarized Zone on the border between the two Koreas. After that, allied South Korea will talk with the US to discuss what has been said on the inter-Korea meeting and this can lay grounds for the main summit which will take place at the end of May or at the beginning of June. The last time the US leaders met with North Korea officials was at the end of Korean War, which is why this summit is of utmost importance.
Meanwhile, Trump’s administration plans to nominate Adm. Harry Harris, current commander of US forces in the Pacific as ambassador to South Korea. This position needs to be filled in quickly, especially since it has been empty ever since Trump took office. However, Harris has already been nominated to be ambassador to Australia, but his Senate confirmation hearing has been postponed. Both South Korea and Australia have been informed that Harris may be repositioned, but nothing has been official yet, and we are waiting for the new facts to emerge. This information comes from one of the congressional aides who insisted on staying anonymous since they had no authority to make comments on the matter.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo who is favored by Trump as the next Secretary of State also spoke of the matter. He said that the vacant spot needed “immediate attention.” As for Harris, he has been in uniform for almost four decades, and he is considered to be very candid. Although Trump is quite optimistic about the meeting between the US and North Korea, Harris could not be “overly optimistic” about the outcome, and he said: “We have to go into this, eyes wide open.”