The concern in some quarters in South Korea is that Kim Jong Un will, in the anticipated second summit, offer to give up some elements of his nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in return for a withdrawal of American forces.

The core goal of the Kim family—the goal that anchors its legitimacy—is to rule the entire peninsula, and the Kims have thought they could, one way or another, unite the two rival states if there were no Americans there.

Accordingly, no American president has been willing to accept any bargain contemplating the removal of U.S. forces. Even President Jimmy Carter, who was once determined to withdraw all U.S. ground troops, ultimately was persuaded to keep Americans in the South precisely to avoid a coerced or forced unification.