NYT: Trump Surprised, Angered


US President Donald Trump is increasingly concerned that his meeting with N. Korea leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore may turn into a “political embarrassment.” As the New York Times reports, Trump is in intensive consultations  with his advisers as to whether it is worth taking risks and go ahead with to the summit.

Trump was surprised and indignant at the statement published on Wednesday by the chief N. Korea nuclear negotiator, who said that Pyongyang would never give up its nuclear potential in exchange for economic assistance. The statement was a manifestation of N. Korea well-known tactics and represented a sharp shift in tone after the conciliatory gestures made in recent times.

On Thursday and Friday, Trump literally peppered his aides with questions as to how the preparations for the summit are taking place. On Saturday evening, Trump called South Korean President Moon Jae-In to ask why North Korea’s public statements contradicted the private assurances received by Moon during the meeting with Kim in the demilitarized zone in late April.

US president talked with Moon three days before the South Korean leader was scheduled to arrive in Washington. Trump’s aides believe that the president demonstrates too much desire to hold a meeting with Moon Jae-In.

Locking horns with N. Korea is a new experience not only for Trump, but for all his other advisers. South Korean officials say that John Bolton, Trump’s new national security advisor, was in daily contact with his counterpart in Seoul trying to build up a strategy. Bolton made it clear that, in his opinion, the president should use the meeting in Singapore to state that the DPRK should abandon its entire arsenal and nuclear infrastructure before the US eases economic sanctions.

Analysts at the CIA, where the current Secretary of State Pompeo was the director, for decades have warned that they do not believe that Kim will exchange all of his nuclear capabilities for aid, regardless of what proposal comes from the United States and its allies. However, they also believe that there is a chance that Kim may suspend the nuclear and missile tests if he achieves the pull-out of the American military contingent from the region.

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