Robert E Kelly
Modern summits take months to prepare for. Both parties can afford to slow down the current breakneck pace of unprepared negotiations to make sure they get this right.
The summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un is scheduled to begin in just three weeks. Yet there is growing confusion and uncertainty about the shape of the summit, the topics to be discussed, the meaning of ‘denuclearization’ and even whether it will take place. Reporting on the run-up to the summit is unnerving, depicting chaos in the Trump administration—including a startlingly late realization that the North Koreans have no intention of denuclearizing.
Increasingly, it looks as if South Korean President Moon oversold the prospect of a North Korean summit to Trump. Ever susceptible to flattery and not actually doing any real preparation himself, Trump fell for the off-hand comment about a Nobel peace prize. Media coverage that actually took the idea that Trump might deserve a Nobel seriously fueled sky-high expectations. These are now coming down to earth amid a wave of North Korean backtracking.