A lot of info to consume…..
Today (Singapore time) is the day when the first ever meeting between an American president and the leader of North Korea……it was a circus on whether this meeting would ever take place…..on again, off again, on again…….
Both leaders and their entourage are on the ground and the first get together is about to make history……
President Trump and Kim Jong Un have both arrived in Singapore, reports the AP, with Air Force One touching down Sunday evening at a military base hours after Kim arrived. CNN reports it’s a rare trip outside the Hermit Kingdom for Kim for an even rarer summit. The North Korea strongman arrived on an Air China flight in what the AP notes was only his fourth trip abroad since taking power in 2011; a motorcade whisked him to the heavily guarded St. Regis Hotel, where he entered unseen, surrounded by a human shield.
Among Kim’s delegation are Kim Yong Chol and sister Kim Yo Jong. Fresh off dropping threats on the G7 summit, Trump also had warning words for Kim. “I feel that Kim Jong Un wants to do something great for his people,” Trump said before leaving the G7 summit. “And he has that opportunity, and he won’t have that opportunity again.” Also due in, per CNN: Dennis Rodman.
Rodman? Then the description of a circus is accurate.
Is the president prepared……..
President Trump and Kim Jong Un have both arrived in Singapore ahead of Tuesday’s historic summit—but while they are close to each other in location, in separate luxury hotels, the two sides are still far apart on key details. North Korea and the US are still not in agreement on what denuclearization could mean, or even what will be discussed on Tuesday, reports Reuters. Officials met for hours Monday to try to hammer out details of Tuesday’s meeting, which Trump sounded optimistic about. “We’ve got a very interesting meeting in particular tomorrow, and I just think it’s going to work out very nicely,” he told reporters after meeting with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. In other developments:
- Lowered expectations. Both sides have stressed that nobody should expect breakthroughs to happen after a single meeting, the Washington Post reports. North Korean officials and Trump have both described the summit as the first of possible multiple meetings and a gradual normalization of relations. Officials tell the Post that Tuesday’s summit will start with Trump and Kim being photographed on the island of Sentosa. They will then talk for about an hour, with their interpreters as the only other people present, before they meet with advisers.
- Jitters in China. Analysts tell the New York Times that after years of trying to rein in its troublesome ally, Beijing has become nervous about potentially losing it. Analysts say Chinese officials are worried that Pyongyang will move away from China to “embrace” the US, possibly by agreeing to denuclearization.
- Clashing styles. Trump’s instinct-driven negotiating style is about to encounter a nation that has mastered the “diplomacy of delay, obfuscation, and illusory promises of disarmament,” according to CNN. Trump has alternately claimed to have done little preparation for the meeting and to have prepared “all his life.” Diplomats say that if Trump really is relying on his gut instead of doing his homework, he risks making errors including making deals detrimental to allies Japan and South Korea.
- History repeating itself? Harry Kazianis at the Hill argues that the summit is certain to end in a round of handshakes, smiles—and promises that North Korea is sure to end up breaking. He says that to get Pyongyang to prove it is serious about denuclearization, Trump should get the country to give up one or two of its nuclear weapons immediately.
- Media feeding frenzy. Singapore has welcomed more than 3,000 journalists from across the world to cover the summit, an unprecedented number for the city-state. A large facility built for a Formula One race has been refurbished for the journalists, and local businesses have provided an impressive 20-dish buffet to feed them, the AP reports.
- “A real test of success.” The first face-to-face meeting of US and North Korean leaders is historic, “but a real test of success will be whether it actually leads to concrete, steady, prompt progress toward the twin goals of denuclearization and the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association tells the Washington Post. “By definition that requires a common understanding of what ‘denuclearization’ and ‘peace’ entails and what the major action-for-action steps must be.”
This “summit” has all the earmarks of a circus on so many levels.
We know they will be talking nukes but their is something else that needs to be talking about….by law…..
Under a 2016 law passed by Congress, the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act, the president is obligated to investigate and sanction people and entities complicit in human rights abuses in North Korea, not just those involved in weapons proliferation and other illicit activities. The law imposes a financial ban and asset freezes on the government and its component parts, and the Workers Party of Korea, of which Kim is the chairman.
Specifically, the law mandates the president to place on the Treasury Department’s “Specially Designated Nationals” list any person who “knowingly engages in, is responsible for, or facilitates serious human rights abuses by the Government of North Korea,” or “knowingly engages in, is responsible for, or facilitates censorship by the Government of North Korea,” among other criteria. After being placed on the list, designated persons are typically unable to use most international financial systems and are forbidden from traveling to the United States. (Other countries often impose similar sanctions, following U.S. designations.)
The act provides that these measures can be waived short term for special cases (such as to allow a sanctioned diplomat to travel to the United States), and sanctions can be suspended only if North Korea takes major steps to end weapons proliferation and related activities and addresses human rights — for example, by “accounting for and repatriating” citizens of other countries who were abducted by North Korea, “accepting and beginning to abide by internationally recognized standards for the distribution and monitoring of humanitarian aid,” and “taking verified steps to improve living conditions in its political prison camps,” among other criteria.
In other words, the legislation mandates that the United States negotiate on human rights issues alongside proliferation issues. President Trump cannot fully suspend sanctions on North Korea unless North Korea agrees to key reforms.
(Human Rights Watch)
Will the rule of law prevail? My guess is that it will not. But we can hope that at least they start a talk on nukes…..but that is doubtful as well.
Other aspects of conflict should also be addressed not just the nuke thing…..how about a conventional threat?
Optics will be the only thing that is accomplished….both parties must look good….screw substance.
If you are watching and need a program to keep up with the silliness that will ensue…….
On a closing thought…..Kudlow, the adviser that played an economist on TV, has stated that if this summit fails the blame should be placed on Canada….
During a manic appearance on CNN on Sunday morning, President Donald Trump’s economic advisor Larry Kudlow frantically attacked Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, calling him “sophomoric” and a “back-stabber,” while complaining his statement affirming Canadian trade policies after Trump left for his Singapore meet-up with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un was designed to make look the president look weak.
This White House is always looking for someone to blame for their incompetency…..
As a prelude to the meeting….SecState Pompeo gave us the “official” spin….he said that the US has brought all the experts on nukes that will be needed……may I ask who are these experts?
I ask this because……key decisions about science policy are being made by someone with no training in science.
He still hasn’t appointed anyone as the top science adviser for the White House, a position that has traditionally been held by prominent scientists with extensive education and experience. So the post fell into the lap of a 31-year-old politics major whose most recent job was as chief of staff for Trump ally and venture capitalist Peter Thiel.
As the de-facto head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Michael Kratsios — who holds a degree in Political Science with a concentration in Hellenic (Greek) studies — is tasked with advising the White House on decisions about matters ranging from disease outbreaks to natural disasters. He was initially brought into the White House to advise Trump on tech-related issues.
Again…who are these experts?
One last thought….news has come out that this will be a one day “summit”……like I said……optics and spin…..