The world is just days away from witnessing the historical summit between President Donald Trump and and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The meeting is scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, and you'd think that Trump would feel the need to buckle down and prep extensively for how he'll approach Kim, but that, apparently, is not the case. Donald Trump's comment about preparing for the North Korea meeting has me really nervous about how this is going to go.
Buckle up, folks, because it looks like the June 12 North Korea meeting is about to be a wild ride. Naturally, there's been a lot of curiosity as to how Trump will approach Kim. The hope for this meeting is that it will ease the tension between North Korea and the United States, as well as the rest of the world. The two leaders are expected to discuss North Korean denuclearization, as well as economic development. It's a pretty serious meeting that should be taken seriously — but Trump apparently feels like he's already got it in the bag.
On June 7 at a press conference in the White House Trump stated that, “I think I’m very well prepared. I don’t think I have to prepare very much. It’s about the attitude," according to Talking Points Memo. Which, eek. That statement just doesn't inspire much confidence in me that this meeting will go well.
Typically, world leaders are briefed before speaking to each other. In the U.S. specifically, the president is given a dossier from the National Security Council (NSC), which is the White House office that deals with matters related to foreign relations. It's unclear whether Trump is taking these necessary measures in order to prepare, though — which is very concerning. In an effort to explain himself, Trump said of the North Korea meeting that,
It’s about willingness to get things done. But I think I’ve been preparing for the summit for a long time. As has the other side…They’ve been preparing for a long time, also. So this isn’t a question of preparation, it’s a question of whether or not people want it to happen, and we’ll know that very quickly.
I mean, clearly the world wants this meeting to happen. So I'm not sure what Trump is saying here. If neither party didn't want the meeting to happen then it just wouldn't be happening.
In fact, this meeting between Trump and Kim almost didn't happen. North Korea threatened to cancel the meeting, because the nation doesn't want to totally abandon their nuclear weapons. On May 16, North Korea's vice foreign minister Kim Kye-gwan issued a statement effectively calling off the meeting, which said "If they try to push us into the corner and force only unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in that kind of talks and will have to reconsider whether we will accept the upcoming NK-US summit," per CNN's translation. Although the foreign minister didn't exactly cancel the meeting, the statement prompted Trump to formally cancel the meeting on May 24.
For about two weeks following the statement from the foreign minister it was unclear whether or not the meeting would still be happening. But on May 30, Trump announced that the meeting was back on as previously scheduled — same time, same place. Trump stated outside of the White House alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that, “We’re meeting with the chairman [Kim] on June 12, and I think it’s probably going to be a very successful — ultimately, a successful process.”
Correct me if I'm wrong, but a successful meeting probably means that successful preparation ahead of the meeting should be taking place. Considering that not too long ago it looked like this meeting wasn't going to happen, I would think that Trump and his staff would be hyper-focused on getting ready for this as much as possible. But this statement doesn't inspire much hope that Trump will be adequately prepared to make progress during his meeting with Kim.
But I'm still hoping that Trump will be able to have a successful summit. Everyone should be hoping for the best — because no matter how you might feel about the president, a successful denuclearization negotiation is something everyone can celebrate.