- President Donald Trump has accepted an invitation from North Korea to meet with Kim Jong Un.
- Trump wants Kim to denuclearize his country.
- Experts think the meeting could be a “huge photo op” – and may make the situation worse.
It looks like President Donald Trump may soon be face-to-face with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un – and some experts are already blasting the meeting before it happens.
“The US has been getting played and outmaneuvered the past three months…and it’s happening again, right now,” Van Jackson, a defense expert and lecturer at the Victoria University of Wellington, wrote on Twitter.
“Anyone who thinks a Trump-Kim meeting would resolve, or even help, the nuclear issue is forgetting history.”
Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA and the NSA, was more blunt – “I got a bad feeling here.”
South Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-Yong, made the announcement in front of the White House Thursday night. Trump has agreed to meet with Kim by May of this year, although no exact date or location have been confirmed.
North Korea expert Jeffrey Lewis noted that the meeting would be somewhat of a coup for Kim, as his country “has been seeking a summit with an American president for more than twenty years.”
“Kim is not inviting Trump so that he can surrender North Korea’s weapons,” Lewis writes. “Kim is inviting Trump to demonstrate that his investment in nuclear and missile capabilities has forced the United States to treat him as an equal.”
Ankit Panda, a senior editor at The Diplomat, agreed with Lewis’ assessment. A meeting, he writes, could give Kim legitimacy by showing that he “has the thermonuclear, Washington-busting ICBM … and now a US president has come to meet him to talk about nukes.”
“Two nuclear states chatting it out.”
Tom Nichols, a professor at the Naval War College, went off on the proposed meeting on Twitter, calling it a “huge photo op” and a “propaganda bonanza” for North Korea. The potential months before the meeting gives North Korea time to work on its ICBMs, Nichols writes, and if it becomes an acknowledged nuclear power “Kim looks like a global badass.”
Lawmakers also cautioned that North Korea could be using the proposed meeting as a delay tactic.
“Remember, North Korean regimes have repeatedly used talks and empty promises to extract concessions and buy time,” Republican Congressman Ed Royce, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement. “North Korea uses this to advance its nuclear and missile programs.”
The situation could also end up more tense if talks fall through.
“Trump summit with Kim a two edged sword. Real chance of a breakthrough,” Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer tweeted. “But staking success of presidency on one of the world’s most intractable conflicts will make Trump feel more compelled to strike if Kim doesn’t deliver.”