Nothing else worked and we will see if Trump’s engagement yields anything. But it is worth noting that Japan’s Prime Minister Abe won a mandate last year to deal with North Korea and this is perhaps the quiet (at least for most lay Americans) factor here. If the people of Japan are onboard with getting serious with Pyongyang that changes the equation fundamentally. Kim probably overplayed his hand by launching those missiles over the Land of the Rising Sun. With the OK from Tokyo Trump has been given a freer hand.
And frankly the North Koreans are less likely to play with a Trump administration than an Obama administration.
(From The Financial Times)
Sitting US presidents and North Korean leaders have not spoken in seven decades. The only American known to have met Mr Kim is the retired basketball star Dennis Rodman, an athlete of considerable merit but decidedly not the person to negotiate the future of a nuclear crisis. However abruptly Mr Trump has cast aside decades of American policy and his own opposition to talks, he has chosen the wiser path for his country and the world. Better he meet Mr Kim in an extraordinary summit than march off blindly to war.
Still, the devil for Mr Trump will be in the detail. As he contemplates what could be the greatest challenge of his presidency, there is much to give him pause. He must first recognise Mr Kim’s strong position. North Korea has a considerable nuclear arsenal and has made impressive progress in missile tests. Mr Kim will negotiate but continue working behind the scenes to achieve his goal of an intercontinental nuclear missile that can reach any target in America.
We think that Trump and his team do recognize Kim’s strong position, and everyone knows that North Korea is unlikely in the extreme to denuclearize. Kim wants the additional bargaining chip of an ICBM, (if he doesn’t have one already). The hermit kingdom has worked for 30+ years to develop the technology they have. They are unlikely to turn around and just give it up.
Why would they?
And that is the crucial question.
On a personal note, over the past few weeks I’ve been reading a play by play of the events that led up to World War 2 and I am struck by the degree to which twists of fate move history. Sometimes developments (both positive and negative) can emerge out of nowhere for what seems like no logical reason. Perhaps we are looking at one of these moments. (Likely not.) But regardless, it is better to talk than to blow up the Korean peninsula and throw the world into war. Because world war could be what a hot war with North Korea might mean.