Trump ‘quite likely’ to visit Pyongyang: ex-U.S. nuke envoy

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un meet in the demilitarized zone on 30 June. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Sep 27, 2019, Yonhap. U.S. President Donald Trump could visit Pyongyang for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to try to use the event to boost his reelection campaign, a former top U.S. nuclear envoy said Thursday, reported the Yonhap.

“A possibility of him going to Pyongyang, I think it’s quite likely. He’s focused on reelection. Anything that helps the reelection, he would be wanting to do it,” Joseph Yun, former U.S. special representative for North Korea told a forum in Seoul.

“Another summit is likely. Trump has engaged with North Korea, and it’s been quite successful, as most Americans would agree. I don’t think there’s any way Trump wants this initiative to derail before the reelection,” Yun said.

Last week, Trump said that he expects to meet Kim again “at some point” this year, but said a visit to Pyongyang was premature.

“Probably not. I don’t think it’s ready. I don’t think we’re ready for that. I would do it some time, at some time at a later future,” he told reporters on Sept. 16.

Trump and Kim have met three times since their first summit in Singapore last year. The second summit in Vietnam collapsed as the two sides failed to reach a common ground on ways to denuclearize Pyongyang and what sanctions relief Washington could give in return.

Hopes have arisen for a resumption of the stalled dialogue after the North expressed its willingness to resume talks in late September, but the talks have yet to materialize. South Korea’s spy agency said earlier this week that the nuclear talks could take place in two to three weeks.

Yun noted that if Trump decides to visit the communist state, that could give Washington more leverage in his dealings with North Korea over denuclearization.

“That would give the United States leverage, it’s like, when they negotiate, they can say, ‘if my boss goes to Pyongyang, you have got to do this for me,'” he said. “He would get a better deal. So it’s not a bad idea.”

Speaking on how Trump see alliances, Yun said the president “is genuinely questioning” the value of such arrangements.

“There is a growing lessening of alliances in (Trump’s) foreign policy and North Korea has made an incredible adjustment. (Kim) has read amazingly what’s going on in Washington, met Trump three times, tested missiles and increased nuclear power. He has played that to his advantage,” Yun said.

By Kim Seung-yeon

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