Seoul eyes '99.9% chance of Kim-Trump meeting taking place as planned'

Lester Mason
May 22, 2018

Pompeo said if North Korea denuclearized, USA capital would flow into sectors of its economy ranging from agriculture to power infrastructure. "No one double-crossed you; Trump is just a moron".

Woo Sang-ho, a lawmaker in Moon's ruling Democratic Party, agreed. "Bolton's preposterous "Libya solution" is a red light in North Korea's summit talks with the US and South Korea", he wrote in a Facebook post.

Officials now in senior positions in the Moon administration know the current American national security adviser's background all too well. "I tend to believe in the free market, but I don't think it's going to go to North Korea anytime soon with American investors salivating at the prospect of making money somehow in that remote part of the world". "People are anxious that he's going to interfere and botch the process", Lee said. North Korean leaders have tried for two decades to get a meeting with an America president because they believed it would give them prestige and legitimacy.

The commemorative piece was minted by the White House Military Office, which typically designs coins for Trump's trips overseas, before an expected summit between the two leaders in Singapore on 12 June.

"We have seen a repeated pattern of North Korea's tactic of negotiations, which tends to drag the time until the very last minute when they decide what they can accept and do not", Oh says. Kim has indicated that he sees the fall of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2003 as a cautionary example of what befalls leaders who give up their nuclear programs.

A North Korean official said Bolton's comments were indicative of an "awfully sinister move" to imperil the Kim regime.

Lee Jong-Seok, who served as South Korea's Unification Minister in the later years of the Roh administration, said the two sides seized on different lessons from Libya. -South Korean air combat drills, suspended North-South talks and threw into doubt the summit with Trump if Pyongyang was pushed toward "unilateral nuclear abandonment".

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"In this case, the US and its allies will be free from nuclear attack but North Korea's surrounding countries like China would be affected", Zhang said. The United States may not be intimidated so easily into canceling war games, but one thing is sure: Trump won't say a word about human rights abuses in North Korea while Kim fools everyone into thinking he's giving up his nuclear program. The country's economic leverage over the North - China supplied 85 percent of North Korea's $3.47 billion in imports in 2015 - means it will be critical to any economic inducements offered as part of the deal.

"It's an open secret in Korea that Kim was just flattering Trump to prevent him from starting a war", he added.

The president, on Twitter on Monday morning, called on China to keep its border tight with North Korea amid sanctions until he is able to reach an agreement with Kim.

While some here think the Trump administration does not adequately understand North Korea's negotiating tactics, others think Trump is practicing his own "art of the deal".

But North Korea can be highly unpredictable. "It doesn't look like they want to denuclearize at all", one USA official told The Washington Post, after Trump made a frantic call to Moon.

Supporters stress that sometimes Trump's ambitious efforts do pay off, as with the massive tax cut bill he signed into law late previous year. It was Moon's government that delivered the initial invitation from Kim for a meeting, and South Korea has been pushing the USA toward a peaceful resolution to the nuclear crisis. Pompeo didn't mention a role for financial assistance from the Overseas Private Investment Corp. or another USA agency.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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