President Trump’s concessions to North Korea have former diplomat Jake Sullivan worried.
While Sullivan believes there’s nothing theoretically wrong with sitting across the table from someone like Kim Jong-un, he also thinks Trump needs to focus on reality when it comes to North Korea.
“ [Kim’s] grandfather Kim Il-sung, and his father Kim Jong-il both sought recognition from the international community. They both desperately wanted meeting with American presidents because, for them, for leaders of North Korea, this gives them instant legitimacy. Not just in the eyes of their people, but in the eyes of the world,” he explained.
The former North Korean leaders also attempted to make specific denuclearization commitments with Clinton and Obama, which they didn’t agree to. Trump, however, agreed to make very specific commitments at the summit — and said he’ll stop military exercises in South Korea. This was a pretty big promise to make, especially since North Korea’s counter-promise to denuclearize has no actual timeline or strategy attached to it.
When asked how he can be sure North Korea will follow through with their end of the deal, Trump said that he trusted Kim and his gut on the matter — something Sullivan finds ironic, considering he also recently ended the extensively inspected Iran nuclear deal.