From North Korea to Saudi Arabia

Photo by Francisco Anzola | CC BY 2.0

As one nuclear crisis winds down in Asia (maybe) is President Donald Trump laying the foundations for a new nuclear crisis in the Middle East?

On Thursday, March 8, came the surprise news that President Donald Trump had accepted an invitation to meet with Kim Jong-un of North Korea.  South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong made the announcement at the White House following a meeting with President Trump.  Kim had delivered the invitation to a visiting group of South Korean officials, including Chung.  Chung passed Kim’s invitation along to President Trump during their meeting on Thursday.  The South Koreans had been in Pyongyang to arrange a summit between the two Koreas which is now set to be held in April.

In his statement Thursday, Chung said that Trump would meet with Kim “by May.”  The time and location of the meeting have yet to be set.  If the meeting takes place—and one can never tell with the mercurial Trump—it will be the first time a US president has met a North Korean leader.

Kim Jong-un, Chung said, has promised not to conduct missile or nuclear tests during talks.  (This does not include nuclear research and manufacture of missiles and bombs.)  Suspending tests would extend North Korea’s side of an informal “freeze” which the US and DPRK had observed during the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.  The freeze will now be one-sided, however.  Kim said that he does not ask the US…

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