Caricature by DonkeyHotey flic.kr/p/Ct4G4K https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Yesterday, President Trump abruptly canceled a scheduled June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un over a threat by a North Korean official to resort to nuclear war if they didn’t get the deal they wanted. By last night, it had dawned on the North Koreans that they were a) still under sanctions, b) Trump was likely to be unhappy, c) they’d handed over three US prisoners, and d) they’d publicly demolished their nuclear testing facility (again, the condition of the site is irrelevant as 99% of the people watching the demolition had not followed the technical debates of “sick mountain syndrome”). In fact, Trump issued his letter canceling the summit at about the same time that the North Koreans were sealing the test tunnels at Mount Mantap. And they issued a much less bellicose statement saying they were willing to meet with Trump at any time.
This morning Trump responded to the nice statement.
Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea. We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2018
I think there was a strong feeling inside the administration that the North Koreans were going to find some reason to cancel the summit because keeping their opponents off balance is how they operate. Trump and his national security team probably decided that if the North Koreans canceling was a probability then it would be better if the US canceled first.
I asked the President if the North Koreans are playing games with him — skipping planning meetings and then saying they will meet anytime. His answer: “Jon, everybody plays games. You know that. You know that better than anybody.”
— jonkarl (@jonkarl) May 25, 2018
As I posted last night, I think this meeting will take place. I think it will happen in the next three months. It will happen because North Korea now knows that Trump is looking for a real, verifiable deal, not just a meeting and photo-op and it is the North Koreans who desperately need a deal, not Trump. If the possibility of a deal doesn’t exist, then I don’t think Trump will bother meeting with Kim.
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