Foreign policy experts warned that the Trump administration needs to be fully engaged, with the president making the summit his top priority, if the White House has any reasonable expectation of success. But even trying to define what success would look like is difficult, they said, because virtually no one thinks that Kim is willing to give up his nuclear weapons and it is unclear what Trump is willing to put on the table to persuade him.
“A normal administration wouldn’t do this,” said Michael J. Green, who served as senior Asia director at the National Security Council (NSC) in the Bush administration. “The North Koreans have wanted an American president to meet the Kim family since the end of the Cold War to demonstrate to the world their nuclear program got the American president to treat them as an equal. No normal NSC or White House could see how this could be done without damaging the credibility of the president and our alliances.”