Going into the North Korea meeting, senior administration officials say, the president has been almost singularly focused on the pageantry of the summit —including the suspenseful roll-out of details. He has not been deeply engaged in briefing materials on North Korea’s nuclear program, said three people with knowledge of the White House efforts. They were not authorized to speak publicly.
Scott Snyder, director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy at the Council of Foreign Relations, said there’s a risk that “the ceremony and the historic nature of the meeting be allowed to overshadow the deliverables.”
Driven by gut instinct, Trump rarely dives deep as he prepares to meet with foreign counterparts. For the North Korea meeting, insiders say, he is motivated by the idea of scoring a historic deal and is tickled by suggestions he could win a Nobel Peace Prize — especially since Barack Obama won the honor early in his presidency. Trump has maintained publicly that his goal is to see the Korean Peninsula denuclearized, and the North has agreed to put its nuclear program on the negotiating table as a condition for the talks. But the two sides are still miles apart on defining what might be mutually acceptable.