A second US-North Korea 'summit'?
President Donald Trump, arriving at the United Nations on Monday morning, said he and Kim Jong Un would meet for a second time "quite soon". "It looks like we'll have a second summit soon. As you know, Kim Jong Un wrote a letter, a beautiful letter, and asked me for a second meeting and we will be doing that. (Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo will work that out in the immediate future," Trump said, claiming there has been "tremendous progress on North Korea." Diplomacy between the US and North Korea has continued in fits and starts since Trump met with Kim in Singapore in June, with Trump most recently cancelling Pompeo's planned trip to Pyongyang last month, believing the visit would not be fruitful. But throughout the process, Trump has continued to express a rosy optimism about the fate of the US-North Korea diplomatic effort and repeatedly expressed confidence in the strength of his personal relationship with Kim. But, now, he has met President Moon of South Korea on the sidelines to get a good idea of what transpired between the leaders of the two Koreas recently. The fact remains that denuclearisation, in actual terms, is not really on. Given that none of the sites in question have either been abandoned or obliterated. Pyongyang, on the other hand, would want the US to ease its sanctions and sign a peace treaty. Nothing has happened on that front either. But relations between Seoul and Pyongyang seem to have attained a new high. US officials are, naturally, worried that a second summit between Trump and Kim is premature and would hand North Korea too much in return for little concrete and verifiable progress toward denuclearisation. Arriving at the UN headquarters on Monday morning, Trump also touted how much the world has changed since he threatened during his UN speech a year ago to "totally destroy" North Korea if it threatened the US or its allies.
In a sign of the diverging views between Trump and his top foreign policy aides, just a day earlier US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said she believed talk of a second summit was premature. "I think Secretary Pompeo needs to have a couple more conversations before the President meets with Kim again," Haley said. There was maturity in that sort of thinking by the very vocal Ambassador. Indeed, while diplomacy and bonhomie are essential before talks resume, there are matters where both Pyongyang and Washington must be serious about their intentions. The "Korean War" must officially be declared over and the new accord must guarantee that the Korean peninsula needs nurse no apprehensions. The base must be set for the two leaders to come to a lasting agreement.