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South Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, announced at the White House that U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un by May 2018. Kim reportedly said he is “committed to denuclearization” and pledged North Korea will “refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests.”

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Update: March 28, 2018

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Met Xi Jinping on Surprise Visit to China

By Steven Jiang and Joshua Berlinger

March 28, 2018

Excerpts

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with the Chinese president on a surprise trip to Beijing this week, his first visit abroad since he took power in 2011.

Kim traveled to the Chinese capital because he felt compelled to personally inform President Xi Jinping of the rapid diplomatic developments on the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.

The visit is a stunning shift for Kim, who appears to be fashioning himself as a leader in search of a peaceful solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. It’s in sharp contrast to 2017, when Kim oversaw a string of missile and nuclear tests that drew the ire of the international community.

Kim’s trip, which was shrouded in secrecy, was the first of three potential meetings with some of the world’s most powerful leaders.

Kim is set to attend a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next month, and, in a bombshell move, US President Donald Trump has also accepted an invitation to meet Kim. It would be the first face-to-face encounter between a sitting US president and a North Korean head of state. …

Kim called for a “new era” in bilateral relations in a letter to Xi published on North Korean state media and invited the Chinese President to visit Pyongyang.

“In this spring full of happiness and hopes, I believe my first meeting with General Secretary Xi Jinping will yield abundant fruits of DPRK-China friendship, and facilitate peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” said Kim, referring to Xi by his title as leader of the Chinese Communist Party. …

North Korea’s diplomatic charm offensive is likely part of an attempt to show Kim as a world player equal in stature to leaders like Xi, said Jean Lee, an analyst at the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy at The Wilson Center.

“We’re seeing a carefully crafted North Korean strategy on diplomacy unfold on the world stage, starting with Beijing,” Lee said.

“He’s positioned himself as the peacemaker, he’s made all the first moves.”

Kim told his hosts that he chose China as his first overseas destination as leader to show “his will to carry forward the tradition of DPRK-China friendship, and how he valued the friendship between the two countries.”

Chinese state media quoted Kim as saying that he is committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a key Chinese goal, but Lee warned Kim would seek major concessions in exchange for giving up nuclear weapons.

“The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace,” Kim said, according to Xinhua. …

Full report

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Update: March 29, 2018

North and South Korean Leaders to Meet for Historic Summit on April 27

South Korean soldiers stand as vehicles carrying a South Korean delegation pass the Unification Bridge, which leads to Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Thursday, March 29.
South Korean soldiers stand as vehicles carrying a South Korean delegation pass the Unification Bridge, which leads to Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Thursday, March 29, 2018. (Photo: Lee Jin-Man / AP via CNN)

By Ben Westcott and Yoonjung Seo

March 29, 2018

Excerpts

The leaders of North and South Korea will meet on April 27 for the first time since 2007, the two countries announced Thursday after high-level talks.

The landmark meeting between President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un will be held at Freedom House on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), according to the joint statement issued after the talks.

Officials from both sides will hold working-level talks on April 4 to prepare for the meeting and agree on security and media arrangements, it added. …

The last Inter-Korean summit was held in October 2007, when then President Roh Moo-hyun met Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il. …

On Thursday, high-ranking Chinese diplomat and Politburo member Yang Jiechi arrived in Seoul to brief South Korean officials on the North Korean leader’s visit to Beijing.

The Kim-Moon summit will precede a bombshell encounter between the young North Korean leader and US President Donald Trump — the first time a sitting US leader has met with a member of the Kim dynasty. …

Thursday’s North and South Korean delegations were both headed by the same men who engaged in the first negotiations in January, after Pyongyang agreed to reopen diplomatic communications with Seoul.

Ri Son Gwon, chairman of Pyongyang’s “Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country” led the North Korean delegation while Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon represents Seoul. …

This year’s diplomatic thaw comes in sharp contrast to 2017 when the peninsula appeared to be barreling toward conflict, with Kim overseeing a string of missile and nuclear tests and Trump promising “fire and fury” as Pyongyang threatened Guam, Hawaii and even the US mainland. …

Full report

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Surprise Meetings and Potential Pitfalls; Trump Preps for North Korea

By Kevin Liptak and Jeremy Diamond

March 29, 2018

Excerpts

President Donald Trump’s rosy outlook at the prospect of meeting with North Korean despot Kim Jong Un is about to hit a wall of hard truths erected by US allies, outside experts and officials within his administration. …

Privately, Trump has made clear to advisers that he wants the meeting to happen, expressing few reservations about the prospects of a face-to-face meeting with Kim, a source familiar with the ongoing negotiations said. But in the coming weeks, US officials and at least one key US ally will look to dampen that optimism.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will come bearing a list of concerns over Trump’s face-to-face with Kim when he arrives in the US next month to meet with the President, a person familiar with the Japanese efforts said. The meeting — which could occur at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after he returns from a trip to South America — came at Abe’s insistence after learning that Trump had accepted an invitation to meet with Kim. …

Just this month — days before Trump quickly accepted North Korea’s invitation to meet — senior administration officials told reporters the US would not hold direct talks until North Korea takes “concrete steps” toward denuclearization. That condition has since been discarded, but now those officials are working to ensure Trump does not walk into his meeting with Kim with unduly high expectations.

“I wouldn’t say optimism is called for right now. I would be very cautious because … what North Korea expects out of this summit and what the US expect may not be potentially aligned,” said Sue Mi Terry, a former CIA analyst and North Korea expert. “Optimism is the last word I would use for this.” …

The planning for a summit has included Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA whom Trump has tapped to become secretary of state. …

As the White House works to secure his confirmation, Pompeo and a team at the CIA have been working through intelligence backchannels to make preparations for the Kim talks. Meanwhile, officials at the State Department — led by Marc Knapper, the chargé d’affaires in Seoul, and Susan Thornton, the assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs — have been working separately to prepare for the summit. …

The efforts have fed into a working group convened by the National Security Council’s top Asia hand, Matthew Pottinger. …

US officials say the talks will most likely take place in late May — or perhaps even June — should they occur. …

The White House has declined to say whether official contact has yet been established between North Korea and Washington, which would allow US officials to confirm whether Kim had indeed vowed to halt missile and nuclear testing ahead of talks. In the absence of that confirmation, Trump and his aides have relied partly on the characterizations of the South Koreans, who came bearing the invitation earlier this month, and the Chinese, who provided a briefing to the White House on Tuesday after Kim and President Xi Jinping met in Beijing.

According to Chinese state media, Kim told Xi he was open to summit talks with Trump. But the North Koreans have not themselves confirmed Kim’s intent to meet with Trump.

“If South Korea and the United States respond with good will to our efforts and create an atmosphere of peace and stability, and take phased, synchronized measures to achieve peace, the issue of the denuclearization of the peninsula can reach resolution,” Kim said, according to Xinhua. …

Senior administration officials spent Wednesday trying to decipher North Korean intentions following Kim’s meeting with Xi. Some officials noted the optics — including body language and rhetoric — from both the North Koreans and the Chinese was hardly warm and fuzzy, determining the meeting appeared like it was for show.

China’s ambassador in Washington, Cui Tiankai, traveled to the White House on Tuesday afternoon to brief officials, confirming that it was indeed Kim who had paid a visit to President Xi Jinping. In their conversations, they dictated a message to Trump from Xi which was subsequently shared with the President. …

Full report

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Update: April 21, 2018

Good Faith Sign from North Korea Ahead of Trump-Kim Summit?

Fox News Channel (April 20, 2018) — North Korea reportedly drops demand for withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea in exchange for denuclearization; reaction and analysis from Gen. Jack Keane, Fox News senior strategic analyst and chairman of the Institute for the Study of War. (03:46)

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North Korea Removes Obstacles Ahead of U.S. Meeting

Gen. Jack Kean analyzes the sudden concession by North Korea to discontinue its nuclear weapons program shortly after removing the requirement that the U.S. remove its military presence. (Fox News @ Night, April 20, 2018)
Fox News @ Night
(April 20, 2018) — Shannon Bream reports on the sudden concession by North Korea that it will discontinue its nuclear weapons program shortly after removing the requirement that the United States had to remove its military presence; analysis by Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane. (08:13)

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Update: April 28, 2018

North Korea, South Korea Agree to End War, Denuclearize Peninsula

By Hakyung Kate Lee and Joohee Cho

April 27, 2018

Excerpts

North Korea and South Korea have agreed to denuclearize the peninsula and later this year formally end the war between the two nations that began in 1950. …

Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, has pledged a “new history” with the South Koreans. Together with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, he has agreed to work on a permanent peace agreement and work toward a “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”…

Kim and Moon may request three-way talks with Washington or four-way talks that include Beijing to convert the armistice from 1953 into a peace treaty, hopefully by the end of this year. …

Full report

Video: Kim Jong Un speaks after a historic inter-Korean summit

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Gen. Keane: U.S. Framework on North Korea Is Very Clear

America’s Newsroom (April 30, 2018) — Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane says the Central Intelligence Agency has the best profile of Kim Jong Un and former director Mike Pompeo understands Kim better than anybody and, based on the intelligence the CIA has, believes Kim is a rational actor. (04:20)

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Update: May 6, 2018

North Korea Says Denuclearization Pledge Not Result of U.S.-Led Sanctions

By Haejin Choi and Hyonhee Shin

May 6, 2018

Excerpts

SEOUL (Reuters) — North Korea said on Sunday its intention to denuclearize, unveiled at a historic inter-Korean summit, was not the result of U.S.-led sanctions and pressure, warning the United States not to mislead public opinion. …

The North’s official KCNA news agency said Washington was “misleading public opinion” by claiming the denuclearization pledge was the result of sanctions and other pressure.

The United States should not “deliberately provoke” the North by moving to deploy strategic assets in South Korea and raising human rights issues, KCNA said, citing a foreign ministry spokesman.

“This act cannot be construed otherwise than a dangerous attempt to ruin the hardly-won atmosphere of dialogue and bring the situation back to square one,” the spokesman was quoted as saying.

It would not be conducive to resolving the issue of denuclearization if Washington miscalculated North Korea’s “peace-loving intention” as a sign of weakness and continued to pursue its pressure and military threats, KCNA said.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who plans to meet Kim over the next few weeks, has said he will maintain sanctions and pressure on the North and “not repeat the mistakes of past administrations” and has said his tough stance had led to the breakthrough. …

The White House said that Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, met his South Korean counterpart, Chung Eui-yong, on Friday and both said there were no plans to change the U.S.–South Korea bilateral defense posture. …

Full report

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Commentary/Analysis

Empirical support for North Korea’s contention that its denuclearization pledge was not solely the result of the Trump administration’s policy of sanctions and “maximum pressure” is implicit in the psychological assessment of Kim Jong-un conducted at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, which indicated as early as April 2013 that Kim’s personality profile revealed a predominantly outgoing tendency supplemented by a distinctly accommodating inclination, signifying a “congenial–cooperative” leadership style and pointing to an accommodating, neighborly, conflict-avoidant foreign policy orientation.

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Update: May 10, 2018

U.S. President Donald J. Trump announced on Twitter that his meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un will take place in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

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Update: May 11, 2018

Lt. Col. Daniel Davis: Kim Jong Un’s Goal Is Regime Survival

Fox News ‘Happening Now’ (May 11, 2018) — Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, senior fellow at Defense Priorities, previewing President Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, says now is not the time to press Kim on human rights: “Denuclearization is the best thing for human rights that we could possibly have.” (03:49)

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Topical reports on this site


Kim Jong-un’s Extreme Makeover (Robin Stein, Ainara Tiefenthäler, and Natalie Reneau, New York Times, April 28, 2018) — How did North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, go from being an international pariah to a smiling diplomat in a matter of a few months? (03:02)

 

The Personality Profile of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong Un poster
Click on image for larger view

Research paper

The Personality Profile of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. Working paper, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict, April 2018. Abstract and link for full-text (32 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons: https://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/119/

Cautionary note

Image: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il

North Korea Ready to Deal? (July 26, 2009)

 

The Personality Profile of U.S. President Donald Trump

Trump poster (2016)
Click on image for larger view

Research papers

The Political Personality of 2016 Republican Presidential Nominee Donald J. Trump. Working paper, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict, October 2016. Abstract and link for full-text (31 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons: http://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/103/

The Leadership Style of U.S. President Donald J. Trump. Working paper, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict, January 2017. Abstract and link for full-text (14 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons: http://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/107/

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5 Responses to “President Donald Trump to Meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-un”
  1. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » North Korea Threat Assessment: The Psychological Profile of Kim Jong-un Says:

    […] President Donald Trump to Meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-un (March 9, 2018) […]

  2. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Kim Jong-un Succession in North Korea Says:

    […] President Donald Trump to Meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-un (March 9, 2018) […]

  3. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Psychological Profiles of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un Presented at Scholarship Day Says:

    […] President Donald Trump to Meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-un (March 9, 2018) […]

  4. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    Interesting analysis: “John Bolton could face the same fate as Steve Bannon now Kim Jong-un is threatening to pull out of his meeting with Trump” by Kim Sengupta, Independent, May 16, 2018 » https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/john-bolton-north-korea-donald-trump-libya-kim-jong-un-bannon-pompeo-a8354206.html

  5. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    A timeline of North Korea’s backtracking on denuclearization talks (Rick Noack, Washington Post, May 16, 2018) — Excerpted

    1994-2002

    In 1994, North Korea agrees to halt the construction of two reactors the United States thinks could be used as part of a nuclear weapons program. Instead, according to the agreement, an international consortium is supposed to replace the plutonium reactors with two light-water reactors and the United States agrees to supply 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil every year during the construction period.

    Besides the United States, South Korea, Japan and a European agency form an organization tasked with implementing the accord.

    But when George W. Bush becomes president in 2001, the United States walks away from talks with North Korea over concerns that Pyongyang is running a clandestine program. The North ultimately confirms that program’s existence in 2002, rejecting further negotiations, kicking out inspectors and doubling down on its efforts at a time when the United States is preparing its Iraq invasion.

    2005

    In August 2003, the United States decides to participate in new negotiations with North Korea — the “six-party talks” — alongside China, South Korea, Russia and Japan. Two years later, in February 2005, Pyongyang suspends its involvement in the negotiations, citing U.S. conditions and resistance. After a restart in summer 2005, it again takes only 13 days for negotiations to derail.

    2006

    Despite suspending its involvement in the talks several times that year, North Korea agrees to end its nuclear weapons program only about half a year later, in September 2005. But once again, North Korea suspends its participation in the talks over U.S. sanctions. Soon thereafter, in October 2006, it launches its first nuclear test.

    2007-2008

    In 2007, six-party talks resume and North Korea later agrees to major concessions. Some steps are taken to follow through on its promises, but then North Korea rejects U.S. verification methods and violates its own promises, causing the breakdown of negotiations once again.

    2009-2010

    North Korea rejects U.S. and South Korean promises during new talks. Tensions with South Korea escalate after it accuses the North of having torpedoed one of its navy ships in 2010. Dozens of South Koreans die in the attack.

    [Kim Jong-il dies December 2011; Kim Jong-un assumes power.]

    2012

    Weeks after Kim reaches a deal with the United States to suspend its nuclear weapons program, North Korea launches a long-range rocket, causing the agreement to fall apart. The following year, North Korea also cancels scheduled family reunifications ahead of South Korean and U.S. joint military drills.

    2015

    North Korea rejects any future talks on suspending its nuclear weapons program. After almost being drawn into an open military conflict, North Korea and South Korea engage in talks that quickly fall apart.

    2016

    In July, North Korea signals that it is willing to negotiate, but subsequently launches a number of missile tests. Tensions further escalate in 2017.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/world/wp/2018/05/16/a-timeline-of-north-koreas-backtracking-on-denuclearization-talks/

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