9 March 2018Hot off the Press
US President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with Kim Jong-Un by May, following an unprecedented invitation from the North Korean leader.
South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong announced the news at the White House, also adding that Mr Kim has committed to ceasing nuclear and missile testing by his country.
“[Mr Kim] expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible,” Mr Chung said.
While this marks the most significant breakthrough in over two decades, Mr Chung said pressure would remain on North Korea until its words were backed up by actions.
The announcement comes after a South Korean diplomatic delegation went to North Korea to encourage a meeting between the hermit state and the US.
This is a welcome development after 2017 saw a rise in tensions on the Korean Peninsular with both Mr Trump and Mr Kim exchanging insults.
The Koreas have also agreed to hold a leadership summit in April.
There is no doubting that the Trump-Kim meeting is a tremendous development. After a year of saber-rattling, this is the first solid indication of a cooling of tensions, and one that will surely bring relief to both the region and the world at large. However, it must be kept in perspective.
Firstly, Donald Trump did not broker this meeting. His hardline stance toward North Korea is only one part in a plethora of efforts made by a number of countries to bring North Korea to the table. Donald Trump has simply accepted an invitation. South Korea is the true hero in this tale. The country’s persistence in reaching out to its northern neighbour is the real reason this meeting is going ahead. Having said that, this will be the defining moment of Donald Trump’s Presidency.
Secondly, similar progress has been made in the past. Former US President Jimmy Carter travelled to North Korea and successfully de-escalated tensions in 1994 during the Clinton Presidency. Aside from that, various agreements have been made and broken since then.
So, it is not that the Trump-Kim meeting is not good news, but it may not yield any lasting results. Although, that is not to say that it will not — only time will tell.