If you’re multi-tasking, click here for an audio version:
Well, it looks like a face-to-face meeting between American President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is going to happen.
Since President Trump took office, he and the North Korean president have engaged in a spirited war of words. The two leaders have publicly traded barbs, with threats coming from both sides.
Surprisingly, the North Korean regime has finally stated that they wish to meet with the United States to discuss denuclearization. President Trump seems to have succeeded where both Presidents Bush and Obama have failed. However, is Kim Jong Un being sincere?
President Trump Will Meet with Kim Jong Un In May
On Thursday, news broke that North Korea is ready to have a conversation about denuclearization with the United States. According to Fox News, South Korean National Security Director Chung Eui-Yong stated that Kim Jong Un has invited President Trump to a meeting.
President Trump is expected to meet with the North Korean leader by May. Kim Jong Un has agreed to put the missile tests on hold until the meeting occurs. After taking office, Trump stated that he would be willing to meet with North Korea under the “right circumstances.” However, this is an unexpected development, given the tension between the two leaders.
The Relationship Between Trump and Kim
From the very beginning, President Trump has had a rather contentious relationship with Kim Jong Un. Early in 2017, Trump threatened to send an armada to the Korean peninsula to check any potential hostile moves from Pyongyang.
After North Korea conducted a missile test in July, Trump excoriated Kim and called on China and Japan to take action. Indeed, Trump has routinely called out China for hesitating to act against North Korea.
Later in 2017, Trump stated that if North Korea continues to make threats, they would see “fire and fury” like the world has never seen. A North Korean general responded: “Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him.”
President Trump has not hesitated to use harsh language against Kim Jong Un and his regime. He has referred to the North Korean leader as “Rocket Man,” and even used humor to belittle him. In a tweet he said, “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!”
Of course, words are not the only weapon that Trump has deployed against Pyongyang. The Trump administration has established some of the most devastating sanctions against the North Korean regime. The United Nations followed suit with their own historic sanctions, and even China began limiting their trade with Kim Jong Un.
What Could This Mean?
It’s too early to tell whether anything positive will come from a meeting between the two leaders. Up to this point, the North Korean has not given any indication that he is willing to abandon Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
Is it possible that Kim is finally ready to come to the table? Sure. There is no doubt that the aggressive sanctions against his regime are taking their toll. While the leader does not seem to care if his people starve, he still needs resources to build up the country’s military. The fact that China has taken a harsher stance against North Korea has probably placed Kim under more pressure.
However, we have seen this before, haven’t we? Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, deftly played the Clinton administration like a fiddle, promising to dismantle the nuclear program in exchange for food, money, and a basketball that was autographed by Michael Jordan. It is more likely that Kim Jong Un is attempting to play the same game as his father – hoping that Trump will be as gullible as Bill Clinton.
Will Trump allow himself to be taken in by North Korea? We will find out soon enough.