US Must Set the Tone for Meeting With Kim Jong Un


US Must Set the Tone for Meeting With Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he departs from the White House on March 10, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

No one can doubt the historic nature of the upcoming meeting between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. It will mark the first time in history that the leaders of the United States and North Korea have ever met face to face. In fact, the leaders of the two nations have never even had a phone call in the past.

Trump’s Position of Strength

This is akin to President Nixon going to China. Just as only Nixon could go to China, only President Trump could pull this off and meet with the leader of North Korea. Make no mistake, this is as a result of a U.S. President operating from a position of strength, exercising real leadership, and actually confronting the North Korean threat. While previous American presidents of both parties kicked the can down the road on the North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile threat, President Trump has exercised a policy of what South Korea calls “maximum pressure” on the Hermit Kingdom. Kim Jong-Un has felt the “maximum pressure,” China is actually complying with some of the sanctions, and the North Korean dictator understands that this American president is different and the “military option” is very real. Further, Kim Jong-Un’s relationship with the senior leadership of his military is not what it once was and he’s even had to hire ex-KGB agents to help train new bodyguards. Yes, proposing the meeting was a clever move on Kim Jong-Un’s part, but it was American leadership that caused him to do so.

Having said this, we should still be very leery of the upcoming meeting. There are many potential pitfalls we have to be prepared for. We are now entering the phase of high stakes poker.

Seize the Moment with North Korea

In his book, “Seize the Moment,” President Nixon over 25 years ago predicted that the Pacific Rim Region would take center stage in the 21st century. Well today you have North Korea posing the greatest nuclear threat to the U.S. since the end of the Cold War, China conducting massive cyberattacks against governments and businesses, and the economy of the free world being challenged by Chinese shenanigans in the South China Sea. President Nixon sure was right.

Now is the time for the United States to “seize the moment.” It is absolutely vital that the U.S. now set the stage and set the tone for the upcoming Trump-Kim Jong-Un meeting.

We know that the chief focus of the meeting will be on “denuclearization.” Accordingly, it is imperative that U.S. articulate beforehand the basic principles to be addressed to help us achieve that. At the top of the list needs to be North Korea’s relationship with Iran, the great “enabler” who helped North Korea to achieve its current nuclear and ballistic missile posture. Specifically, both North Korea and Iran have the same miniaturized nuclear warhead design and Iranian scientists have been at various North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile tests since a Joint North Korean-Iran Science & Technology Agreement was signed in 2012. Other items to be addressed in the meeting should include disturbing advancements in both North Korea’s cyber warfare technology and biological weapons program.

U.S. can Send a Message

By setting the stage and tone of the meeting now, the U.S. will be sending both Kim Jong-Un and the rest of the world a message that we will not be played and that we realize that it is American leadership and “peace through strength” that has enabled the meeting to occur.

We can be confident that this president won’t be giving Kim Jong-Un $150 billion to play nice. However, President Trump has a unique opportunity to convince Kim Jong-Un on the world stage that in addition to denuclearization, he has a real chance to bring his country and his people into the civilized world. And if North Korea wants to join the civilized world, they need to let their people have access to the Internet and the free flow of information from the civilized world.

Bold American Leadership

There is much speculation on where the meeting will take place. Here again is an opportunity for America to set the stage and lead now. Paris has a rich history of hosting various peace summits, including the Versailles Peace Conference following WWI and the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolutionary War in 1783. It would be an ideal venue. Further, French President Macron has developed a good relationship with President Trump and recently stated that “Iran should be monitored for its ballistic missile program.” Such a setting could serve to educate our European allies on the role Iran has played in enabling the North Korean threat.

American leadership in actually confronting the North Korean threat has brought about this meeting. Bold American moves in the coming days to set the stage and tone of the meeting will determine whether President Trump a real chance to close the deal.

Originally posted on on 03/12/18

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