- President Donald Trump reportedly thinks he alone can bring peace to the Korean Peninsula just by talking to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
- Trump thinks “just get me in the room with the guyand I’ll figure it out,'” a source close to him told Axios.
- But Kim, who is expected to rule his country until death, has a major advantage over Trump in that he can play the long game.
President Donald Trump has made no secret of his cautious optimism leading up to his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but he reportedly thinks he alone can get the job done just by talking to Kim.
Sources close to Trump told the news website Axios that Trump wants his name writ large in history books as a peacemaker, and ending the 68-year-long North Korean crisis presents him an opportunity for just that.
Trump thinks “just get me in the room with the guy [Kim Jong Un] and I’ll figure it out,'” the source told Axios.
Trump has had success in uniting the world to put pressure on North Korea, something which South Korea credited Kim’s new willingness to talk about denuclearization to, and prides himself on his skills as a dealmaker.
He recently said he’d walk out of the talks if they weren’t going well, or cancel them if North Korea seemed unwilling to make real concessions, but his position as US president gives him a distinct disadvantage to Kim.
Kim does not hold power temporarily or democratically. His will essentially becomes law in North Korea’s authoritarian society, and as it stands he’s expected to rule until the time of his death. At just 34 years old, that could likely be decades away.
Meanwhile, Trump will face reelection in 2020, and if he wins that, he can serve until January 2025 at a maximum, meaning Trump has just a few short years to make concrete progress on North Korea.
North Korea, under different leaders, has entered into and exited out of these type of denuclearization deals three times in the past, each time frustrating the US after getting some sanctions relief.
But Trump remains hopeful, and at a press conference with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, he said “we will not repeat the mistakes of previous administrations.”
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