The precedent Iran sets ahead of a Much-Anticipated North Korea Summit
****By Contributing Writer Emily Colby****
Last night, the stage was set for what has been poised to be the most historic political summit in decades. Around 10pm local Singapore time, the enigmatic Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, joined President Trump at the Singapore, Paya.Lebar Air Base
The US President had just concluded an eventful weekend, spent with leaders from several European nations, typically considered allies to the US. However, the G-7 Summit in Canada saw cattiness and backbiting tweets on many fronts.
Cattiness aside, the weekend was already an afterthought for many, including the media, when President Trump descended from his plane in Singapore on Sunday evening.
All eyes are on the two leaders, who are set to begin talks tonight at 9pm (EST). The past weeks have seen no shortage of forecasting from experts, especially in light of President Trump’s decision back in May to pull out of the Iran deal. The decision to void the Iran deal left many more resolved or conflicted than ever, about looming talks with North Korea.
Trump’s staff and supporters predict a more favorable outcome with North Korea after the president scrapped the Iran deal. Aids insist that the act exhibited the weight of the President’s intent to secure a more comprehensive plan with North Korea. “The message to North Korea is: The president wants a real deal,” John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, told reporters. Challengers of the Iran Deal had argued that it was too weak, notably because of its sunset provisions, which would cause the deal to expire in 10 to 15 years after being signed.
Sue Mi Terry, senior fellow and Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, explains “One side benefit, intended or not, of pulling out from the Iran deal is that it sets the tone with the American public, the international community and the North Koreans that the Trump administration will not accept what it considers a ‘weak’ deal,”
However, others remain less convinced about the certainty of a positive outcome, pointing out that the Iran decision could be seen as a blow to America’s credibility in following-through with already established plans.
Another puzzle piece that will be difficult to place is the fact that the notion of “denuclearization” remains somewhat ambiguous. John Park, Harvard Kennedy School Director of the Korea Working Group, said in an interview to Bloomberg “There’s still a gap in terms of the understanding and definitions related to denuclearization by the NK and US sides.”
That said, Kim’s goals have been clearly mapped out for his part, and include, regime security, lifting sanctions, normalization of ties with the US, economic assistance
Another matter that has cast doubt amongst some experts is the fact that the Iran Deal, despite eventually coming apart, never would have come together at all, had it not included collaboration from several world powers, in addition to the United States. It may not help either, that the US State Department’s special representative on North Korea Policy, Joseph Yun, retired back in February.
Still, a myriad of opinions continues to flood the press. An optimistic President Trump said last week in a statement that his upcoming talks with Kim could “usher in a new era of prosperity, security and peace for all Koreans, for North and South, and for people everywhere.” Only the future knows whether President Trump is correct, or if tonight’s talk will soon be forgotten as another “Leap Day Deal.” For now, all eyes are fixed on President Trump and Kim Jong-Un.