For YEARS American policy dictated that such a meeting could only happen if North Korea made concessions on its nuclear program first. It turns out Trump’s foreign policy masterstroke did not come as the result of a Metternichtian calculation but instead a completely spontaneous outburst.
South Korean official Chung Eui-yong was in the White House yesterday meeting with other officials. Trump decided to see Chung right away; maybe Fox News was in repeats or something. Trump “then asked Mr. Chung to tell him about his meeting with Mr. Kim,” reports the New York Times. “When Mr. Chung said that the North Korean leader had expressed a desire to meet Mr. Trump, the president immediately said he would do it, and directed Mr. Chung to announce it to the White House press corps.
It sounds from this account that Trump had no real idea that North Korea has always wanted a face-to-face meeting with the U.S. president, and the U.S. has always imposed conditions. That would certainly be the logical interpretation of this account, given that, in the last week, Trump has confused North Korea with the other, extremely different South Korea, and demanded a laughably tiny $1 billion trade concession from China when he was supposed to demand $100 billion.
I wonder if Trump even remembered the name Otto Warmbier ?
One Pentagon estimate warned that even without nuclear weapons being used, the first days of a war with North Korea could result in fatalities of 20,000 a day in South Korea. Defense Secretary James Mattis, has warned that a conflict of this magnitude would be “catastrophic” and “probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes.”
Trump’s attitude about negotiations with North Korea seem to be as spontaneous and thoughtless as his reference to Kim Jong un as the Rocket Man.