President Trump’s dubbing of Kim Jong Un as “Little Rocket Man” and his warning that his “nuclear button” is bigger than the North Korean dictator’s has led to the apparent dismantling of a nuclear test site, a historic meeting between Kim and South Korea’s president, and the release of three Americans.
But when the rogue regime started exhibiting its typical belligerence again, threatening a nuclear showdown, the president abruptly canceled a highly anticipated summit with Kim to discuss the denuclearization of the communist nation.
Kim, like his father and grandfather before him, long had hoped for a meeting with a sitting U.S. president.
So the next move?
North Korea’s overnight statement that its officials still wanted to meet with the U.S. president “at any time.”
And, CNN reported, Trump said he’s still open to meeting with Kim, even on June 12.
“We’re going to see what happens. We’re talking to them now. It was a very nice statement they put out,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens. It could even be the 12th. We’re talking to them now.
“They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it,” he said.
A reporter asked whether the North Koreans were playing games, and Trump said: “Everybody plays games. You know that.”
Jennifer Harper of the Washington Times reported the “alarm, scorn and glee” of Trump’s critics when the meeting was canceled.
“But wait. The door is still open. The president indicated on Friday that the lines of communication were still open, and the White House was in a wait and see mode. But of course. Seasoned observers know that diplomacy is a work in progress, full of tweaks and maneuvers. Deals often follow the same trajectory. Is it time to consult Mr. Trump’s 1987 book ‘The Art of the Deal’ to figure out which strategic tactic the president could be using here? Maybe,” she wrote.
“It is telling that the White House instantly released the abrupt but remarkably worded letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the public — and it was instantly parsed for language, tone and intent by a breathless press. Interest is now intense. Curiosity and speculation are rampant, drama is in the air.”
She quoted Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal”: “Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals. Preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks. Most people are surprised by the way I work. I play it very loose. I don’t carry a briefcase. I try not to schedule too many meetings. I leave my door open.”
She explained: “Though written 31 years ago, that candid statement reveals that some Trump artistry may be afoot as the planet awaits a decision: Will the pair meet? Jittery diplomats, an intrigued public and the critical news media want to know.”
Ed Feulner wrote at Townhall about Trump’s deal-making, noting his criticism of NATO had caused a stir.
One Trump “dictum,” he explained, was “his view that when you think big, go into negotiations (or even discussions) and become a disrupter. In other words, come up with new ideas that are so far outside the boundaries of what is considered possible that you effectively change not only the debate, but the whole framework for considering the debate.”
“What President Trump does is expand that field of debate so that the margin moves significantly beyond the way it is conventionally thought of, either in Washington among the traditional thinkers and politicians, or around the world by both our friends and our adversaries.”
CNN reported Kim Kye Gwan, a top official at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, had lamented Trump’s decision to cancel, saying it was ran counter to the global community’s wishes for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
“We would like to make known to the U.S. side once again that we have the intent to sit with the U.S. side to solve problem(s) regardless of ways at any time,” said Kim in comments published Friday by the country’s state-run news agency KCNA.
Trump’s cancellation Thursday was accompanied by an offer to Kim of a way forward.
“If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth,” Trump said.
Sadly, I was forced to cancel the Summit Meeting in Singapore with Kim Jung Un. pic.twitter.com/qEoi9ymUEz
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2018
In the Roosevelt Room at the White House after issuing the letter, Trump told reporters it’s possible the “existing summit” could take place, or one at a later date.
“Nobody should be anxious, we have to get it right,” he said.
But he led by emphasizing that it’s up to Kim to avoid a nuclear conflict.
Trump said he has spoken to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of staff, and they are “ready, if necessary,” along with South Korea and Japan, to use military force “should foolish or reckless acts be taken by North Korea.”
South Korea and Japan, he said, are “willing to shoulder” much of the financial burden if “such an unfortunate situation is imposed upon us.”
“We are more ready than we have ever been before,” Trump said.
Joseph Bosco, who served as China country director for the secretary of defense from 2005 to 2006, believes Beijing persuaded Kim to back away from the planned meeting.
In an opinion piece for The Hill, Bosco wrote that Trump and Kim were “poised to implement a workable strategy for denuclearization” until China stepped in.
The explanation, he said, is that “an agreement between North Korea and the United States to end the nuclear threat would deprive Beijing of the benefits and leverage it has enjoyed for decades as a ‘responsible international stakeholder’ and indispensable partner to Washington — the Chinese ‘good cop’ to North Korea’s ‘bad cop.'”
The BBC said one of the factors in Trump’s earlier decision was that the White house had sent staff members to Singapore to meet with North Korean officials ahead of the summit, and they didn’t show up.
Trump’s letter noted, “Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have the long-planned meeting.
“You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” he added.
Trump repeatedly has said he would walk away from any meeting with North Korea if believed they were not moving toward the objective of denuclearization.