Written by Mertice Ho

Was Trump’s acceptance of North Korea’s invitation for talks.

Just a few months ago Trump and North Korea were trading insults and comparing the size of their buttons. Now, Trump has accepted an invitation from Mr Kim Jong-un, Little Rocket Man, to meet and talk about easing nuclear tensions between the two countries. The invitation was brought to Trump by the South Korean delegates who had previously met Mr Kim. The hasty acceptance and announcement of the meeting came as a shock to the South Koreans, Trump’s administration, the American Congress and China.


Why is this significant?

This meeting is set to happen sometime in May, after South Korea’s president Mr Moon has his own summit meeting with Mr Kim. Trump’s acceptance of Mr Kim’s invitation is a change from the stance of previous presidents, who did not want to imply that the US and North Korea were equal with a one-on-one meeting. Additionally, Mr Kim, has said that North Korea will not carry out nuclear and missile tests during the two months that the US and South Korea carry out their annual combined military exercises on the Korean Peninsula.

The dismantling of North Korea’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) in exchange for a full withdrawal of US troops in South Korea is a possible outcome of the talks. While this protects US security and economic interest and is in line with Trump’s ‘America First’ policy, it throws South Korea, a key US ally, out to defend itself.

Furthermore, US not only lacks a South Korean Ambassador but also its special representative on North Korea policy, Special Envoy Joseph Yun, who has recently retired. Compared to diplomats, Trump seems to be unprepared and lacking the specialised knowledge needed for diplomacy. Sure, this meeting between two sworn enemies seems promising, but we do have to wonder what happens if the meeting goes south. Would that be reason enough for military conflict for these two unpredictable leaders? Or is North Korea using this play to get a temporary reprieve from sanctions with the intention of ultimately keeping status quo?

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