Live: South Korea to make major announcement at 7 p.m. ET; Update: Trump to meet Kim by May
That’s the word from a VIP source who would know. And it sounds like good news.
President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday afternoon that South Korea would make a major announcement on North Korea at 7 p.m. EST…
After Trump ducked into the White House briefing room to tease the announcement, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl ran into Trump himself who told Karl it was going to be a big deal.
“You should be there,” Trump said. When Karl asked him whether the announcement was about possible talks with North Korea, Trump responded, “It’s almost beyond that. Hopefully, you will give me credit.”
Hmmm. CNN reported this morning that South Korea’s national security advisor, who’s visiting the White House today, was bringing with him a message from North Korea to the U.S. He’s going to deliver it at 7 p.m. in the White House briefing room with Sarah Sanders. And what’s the message? No word yet, but the South China Morning Post was hyping it to the skies yesterday:
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may propose sending his sister, Kim Yo-jong, to the US as part of efforts to launch direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang, according to a South Korean diplomatic source…
“Kim Jong-un has a certain message, which is not publicised to be delivered directly to the Trump administration. It’s something very unconventional and something very unusual. I don’t know if the US will disclose this message to the public.”
Yes, that’s the same Kim sibling who famously side-eyed Mike Pence at the opening ceremony of the Olympics and earned a few days of fawning from U.S. media for it. Perhaps she’s come to meet her new fans. As for the “very unconventional” message, the Times reported two days ago that denuclearization could be on the table if the security of the Kim regime is guaranteed. What that would look like in practice, I have no idea. Obviously the U.S. won’t denuclearize. And talk is cheap: One of the reasons the Kims have pressed ahead on nukes is because they watched what happened to Qaddafi in Libya. He gave up his own nuclear program to try to improve relations with the U.S.; eight years later, when Libyans rose up against him, America backed the rebels. If verbal security guarantees are worthless and U.S. disarmament is off the table, what’s left to talk about?
Fox News is reporting at 6:30 ET that this is the big news to come:
A nuclear freeze is nice but who cares about an invite from Kim Jong Un? North Korea is always angling to meet high-level Americans. They think it gives them a boost of prestige. Kim Jong Il wrangled a meeting with Madeleine Albright the first time NK decided to play nice on nukes — for awhile — and then they demanded ex-president Bill Clinton fly to Pyongyang and pose for a photo in exchange for releasing two American hostages. No doubt they’d love a personal meeting with Trump. What better way for Kim Jong Un to prove his stature to his people than by having the U.S. president come to meet him?
Don’t forget, though, Trump dangled this option at him in the past.
“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump said Monday in an interview with Bloomberg News. “If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.”…
“Most political people would never say that,” Trump said of his willingness to meet with the reclusive Kim, “but I’m telling you under the right circumstances I would meet with him. We have breaking news.”
That’s from last May, before he started in on the “little Rocket Man” stuff and imposed new sanctions, which have taken a bite. Bloomberg reported yesterday that NK’s currency reserves are evaporating thanks to the embargo imposed on many of their exports. As inflation rises, their problem will get worse. If they’ve been forced to the bargaining table, it may have less to do with POTUS warning about the size of his nuclear “button” then inflicting more economic pain on them.
Will Trump accept Kim’s invitation? Early signs point to yes:
It certainly would be historic. Trump must love the idea if only because his predecessors were unable (or unwilling?) to pull it off, particularly his immediate predecessor. He’s going to get pounded by hawks for legitimizing Kim by granting him a presidential audience, but anything that turns down the heat on this de facto global hostage situation seems like a positive step. I just hope Trump doesn’t get his hopes up. The NorKs are monsters and they’ve used “dialogue” strategically before, to play for time and to ease sanctions. They may want diplomatic recognition by the U.S. as the price of dialogue this time. What does Trump do?
Update: An oldie but goodie.
Update: Me too, but then I’m old enough to remember when Republicans hated tariffs, when they excoriated lecherous presidents, etc etc etc.
Update: Yep, Fox was right. South Korea’s NSA says Kim has invited Trump to meet — and Trump has accepted, promising to meet with him by May. I think it’s the right call, with all the obvious reservations. And more importantly, we may be in for the greatest joint press conference in history.
Exit question: Will there be preconditions?
Update: Here’s the full announcement.