Is Optimism for Trump-Kim Summit Realistic?

Randal Sanchez
June 10, 2018

"I don't think I have to prepare very much".

An Il-76 cargo plane that accompanied Kim Jong Un on his most recent visit to China departed Pyongyang on Sunday morning, bound for Singapore. He's got an opportunity, if you look into history, very few people have ever had.

He said: "I have a clear objective, but I have to say - it's going to be something that will always be spur of the moment".

"I think within the first minute I'll know", Trump said.

Jenny Town, research analyst at the Stimson Center and managing editor of 38 North, said she expects to see at least some clarification of what the negotiated end goal is and sense of time frame for trying to achieve it.

At the same time, the U.S. president thinks that Kim Jong-un can make North Korea great. It's like the way they say you know if you're going to like somebody in the first 5 seconds. "I think very quickly I'll know whether or not something good is going to happen". "I think the G-8 would be better".

The North Korean leader's 39-year-old IL62 P-885 appeared over northeast China for a brief time on the flight tracking website, though disappeared from view shortly after entering Chinese airspace. This is a leader that's really an unknown personality, people don't know much about him. "People, world leaders that have been right next to him have never met him".

Trump insisted last week that the summit would "not be just a photo op", saying it would help forge a "good relationship" that would lead to a "process" towards the "ultimate making of a deal".

SpaceX Falcon 9 delivers massive commercial satellite to orbit from Cape Canaveral
It was the 56th launch of a Falcon 9 rocket , SpaceX's 11th flight so far this year and the company's fifth launch for SES . SpaceX made no attempt to recover the earlier-generation "block 4" first stage , which was limited to only two flights.

The North invaded the South in 1950 and the ensuing war saw the US-led United Nations troops backing Seoul fight their way to a stalemate against Pyongyang's forces which were aided by Russian Federation and China, before the conflict ended in stalemate and an armistice which sealed the division of the peninsula.

She said she hoped the high-level discussions between Mr Kim and other world leaders will lead to greater engagement and encourage more institutions to form connections with North Koreans.

Mr Trump was able to portray North Korea's scramble to convince him to stay in the talks as a victory - but also to redefine the terms of the talks. "We're going to have to see what happens".

A peace treaty, which is a legal agreement between sovereign states, could also cause problems for South Korea, whose constitution doesn't recognize the North as a legitimate government and remains dedicated to the unification of the peninsula under Seoul's rule.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in the first days after the summit date was set, spoke of US private investment in North Korea, should Kim agree to denuclearization.

Trump is expected to meet with Kim, the first such meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, on Tuesday at the luxury Capella Hotel.

The young leader has been swept to centre stage by two new props: his unprecedented nuclear capability and an unconventional USA president. Trump noted that he would know "within a minute" whether Kim was serious about giving up weapons.

After cutting short his participation over the icy reception, Trump veered within hours from espousing a great relationship with the USA allies to tweeting that his host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, had been "Very dishonest & weak" in post-summit remarks.

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