Opinion Is Trump walking into Kim Jong Un's trap?
My life is 'in danger,' North Korea leader's half-brother quoted as saying months before poisoning
<p>Kim Jong Nam told a friend his life was in danger six months before he was killed, a police official told a court on Tuesday.</p>Two women, Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, have been charged with murdering Kim by smearing his face with VX, a banned chemical poison, at Kuala Lumpur airport on Feb. 13 last year.
Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.
Trump tells Gridiron: North Korea 'called up' and 'would like to talk'
President Donald Trump said in his speech to the mostly joke-filled Gridiron Club Dinner on Saturday night that North Korea had recently reached out about possible talks. "They called up a couple of days ago and said, 'We would like to talk,'" Trump said. "And I said, 'So would we, but you have to de-nuke. You have to de-nuke.' So let's see what happens. Let's see what happens."The US has said it would be willing to meet with North Korea but has always insisted that Pyongyang eventually abandon its nuclear weapons program as part of any talks. Trump later said "maybe positive things are happening. I hope that's true. ..
If President Trump actually meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and forges lasting peace on a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, that would be truly amazing. We should all hope that happens. The fact that Trump and Kim appear to be giving peace a chance — after Trump's "short and fat" and "Little Rocket Man"and "fire and fury" threat, and Kim's to "tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire" — is already an indisputably positive development.
The announcement that Trump has agreed to meet with Kim by the end of May was made Thursday. The White House, and Trump tweeted, "Great progress being made ... Meeting being planned!"
"Optimists declared a major breakthrough,". "Even pessimists acknowledged that Trump's hard line against Pyongyang, after decades of less forceful U.S. effort, played a significant role in moving one of the world's most vexing and threatening problems in a potentially positive direction. But in the afterglow of the surprise announcement ... questions were fast and furious."
North Korea says Trump's preconditions for talks are "preposterous"
<p>North Korea says President Trump's demand that it abandon its nuclear program as a precondition to diplomatic negotiations is "preposterous," ruling out the possibility in a new statement Sunday. On Saturday, Mr. Trump addressed the possibility of negotiations with the North during an otherwise light-hearted speech at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night.</p>"Now we are talking and they, by the way, called up a couple of days ago. They said that, 'We would like to talk.' And I said, 'So would we, but you have to denuke, you have to denuke,"' Mr. Trump told attendees at the dinner, according to a pool report of his remarks.
There's the question of whether Trump is rewarding Kim with a face-to-face summit, something no other sitting president has agreed to despite invitations from Pyongyang, or just ripping up a playbook that hasn't resulted in success for 25 years. Is Trump a good negotiator, book title notwithstanding? Does South Korea have it right that Kim is offering "permanent denuclearization"? If so, can Kim be trusted? And what is the U.S. willing to bring to the table? "Sanctions?", Trump's onetime pick to be U.S. ambassador to South Korea. "Normalization? Peace treaty?"
But another question looms very large: Is this a trap?
The White House says Trump can handle this, isn't offering much, and will accept nothing less than North Korea completely dismantling its nuclear weapons program, with verification. "President Trump has a reputation for making deals,". "Kim Jong Un is the one person able to make decisions in their uniquely totalitarian system and so it made sense to accept the invitation with the one person who can make decisions instead of repeating the long slog of the past."
Trump teases big news; it arrives in the dark, on driveway
The first inkling that something big was afoot on North Korea came from President Donald Trump himself: He popped his head into the White House briefing room late Thursday afternoon to tease a "major statement" coming soon — from South Korean officials.Then ABC reporter Jon Karl ran into Trump in a West Wing hallway and the president let out a little more string. Asked if the announcement was about talks with North Korea, Trump offered: "It's almost beyond that. Hopefully, you will give me credit.
But Kim is unlikely to accept Trump's one non-negotiable. "No sentient human can believe Kim is 'committed to denuclearization,'". "Denuclearization is a distant fantasy," , a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, and "in accepting the invitation outright, Trump has already lost much of his leverage over the terms and agenda of the talks."
"To be clear — we need to talk to North Korea,", director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. "But Kim is not inviting Trump so that he can surrender North Korea's weapons. Kim is inviting Trump to demonstrate that his investment in nuclear and missile capabilities has forced the United States to treat him as an equal." This is "an incredible coup for Kim," . "This is literally the end of a North Korean movie — North Korea develops nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, compelling the U.S. president to come to Pyongyang."
Gen. Michael Hayden, former CIA and NSA director, circled around thebefore they walk into a trap.
Trump-Kim meeting proves our president's strategy worked
President Trump set out to stop the historic North Korea merry-go-round. And it looks like, for the moment, he has done it. The North Korean invitation and President Trump’s acceptance are monumental steps, but the unspoken question remains – toward what?Can they get to genuine denuclearization and a rollback of North Korea’s decades-old ambition and threat? Or are we about to be disappointed again? If that happens, the risk to North Korea goes sky high, but does the Kim government know that?As hope is not a strategy, talk is not be an endgame. What happens next is critical, but is infused with new hope.
I got a bad feeling here
— Gen Michael Hayden (@GenMhayden)
The same conservatives who rightly went nuts over this are now applauding an even worse idea. Because they're sure we'll totally have all the advance work in place in 60 days with a POTUS who can't hold a consistent position for 10 minutes at a time.
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom)
Here are two leaders "who believe fundamentally that they are the only people who matter,", a longtime former diplomat who visited North Korea with the Clinton team. Maybe they're right, but, "this is very serious business. It is not a reality show. And it's our national security that is at stake."
David Ignatius at The Washington Postto a hapless cartoon character prone to falling into his own trap, sharing a text he got from former CIA analyst and North Korea negotiator Robert Carlin: "So typical. ... The North Koreans as Road Runner, the U.S. as Wile E. Coyote." Under Trump, Ignatius says, American diplomacy "has become something of a hapless cartoon villain, detonating bombs on itself and running into walls — while our nimbler adversaries dart away in a blur of dust."
The U.S. has been negotiating with North Korea over nuclear weapons since the Clinton administration, bilaterally or with five other nations, and North Korea keeps breaking its agreements. "But despite this checkered track record, there are still compelling reasons for the United States to enter into talks with North Korea,". "The latest diplomatic opening offers a chance to better understand the enigmatic Kim regime, curb its runaway nuclear program, and address direct threats to the United States that haven't been central to past rounds of negotiations. ... And perhaps the greatest reason for hope is this: The playbook has never ever included a summit between the American and North Korean heads of state — let alone the likes of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un."
Kim is something of an enigma, but Trump's "shocking and yet somehow not surprising" decision to meet with the North Korean leader fits neatly with his "audacious and supremely self-confident approach to international affairs,". "Trump has repeatedly claimed that he can achieve what has eluded every other occupant of his office through the force of his own personality," and while "so far, he has little to show for that," there's a first time for everything.
North Korean Foreign Minister headed to Sweden .
North Korea's foreign minister is visiting Sweden Thursday and Friday, the Swedish government announced, in the first significant diplomatic move by Pyongyang since a momentous summit with the US was announced a week ago. Sweden has been floated as a possible venue for the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump. Sweden's embassy in Pyongyang represents US interests in the country.
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