Trump today suggested that his planned meeting with Kim could take place at the Peace House on the border between North and South Korea. And indeed, the emerging pundit consensus seems to be that the summit was long on principle and symbol, but short on detail.
Mr Trump on Saturday (April 28) touted his ability to achieve a nuclear deal with the North's regime at a campaign-style rally in Michigan, grinning and nodding as his supporters chanted "Nobel!" These signal improving North-South relations but can easily be undone via executive order if disputes arise. The first is that he has the flexibility of mind and largeness of ego to want to meet with Kim. "The only thing we need is peace", he said in remarks confirmed by the presidential office. Last week, Kim said he would shut down his nuclear test site and halt missile testing as North Korea turns its attention to growing its economy. What would happen would be a huge political coup and a great international affair, and its effects would reach distant areas, including our region. But none of these steps has cost any of the parties anything substantial. The Trump administration wants enormous concessions from North Korea-CVID (complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement) of the nuclear program.
The developments which we are witnessing in the recent months beginning with North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, exchange of envoys, the inter-Korean summit and series of summits which are scheduled to take place in the coming months were already there in his vision. When asked about the possibility of a Tokyo-Pyongyang summit meeting, LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai told reporters in St. Petersburg in Russia that "nothing will proceed without talks".
The inter-Korean summit has raised hopes for peace and stability on the divided peninsula. It's easy to roll one's eyes at events in the truce village of Panmunjom; harder to give peace a chance. "From now on, cooperation among South Korea, Japan and the United States is very important", Suh replied. North Korea has spent forty years developing these weapons.
A lot of heads are still spinning as Kim continues his attempted transformation from dictator to diplomat.
Maybe Kim is sincere in his declarations and avowed change of heart.
In a gesture of goodwill, North Korea is now going to realign its time zone with South Korea's. Trump, remember, deployed Vice President Mike Pence to Pyeongchang to make side-eyes at the Kims. On the one hand, Xi Jinping's government might get a respite from Kim's nuclear tests and missile launches. They watered a symbolic tree together, and toasted champagne.
"Well I hope it happens you know, and it's denuclearized".
In the photos, Kim looked happy, even beaming. And why shouldn't he be? First of all, last time he promised to stop his nuclear program in exchange of ending the economic siege but he did not keep his word.
The choices of a venue for the Trump summit also include neutral third countries like Singapore, but U.S. officials have been skeptical that Kim would be willing to travel far. Secondly, he succeeded in developing his military capabilities and it's thus difficult to imagine that he decided to give them up. There is some surface plausibility to that argument. The symbolism of it all was overwhelming, and the hype has been extraordinary.