President Trump’s surprise nod to Kim Jong Un’s invitation for a bilateral summit in May has triggered the administration officials to bolster preparations for the same as there is little time left. The meeting is going to be high on stakes especially as both the heads have a whack for throwing surprises. White House is in process of making preparations at a number of levels including an interagency process. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has headed back to the US after cutting short the African trip to get hands on the events.
Japanese and South Korean officials are also scheduled to meet Tillerson this week to hold depth discussions. The stakes for failure are high if the summit fails or North Korea responds by a resumption of missile tests. Being a diplomatic breakthrough, but the silence of North Korea is quite misplaced especially as North has made no official statement about reversing its nuclear arsenal and possible denuclearisation. Presidential summits have to be placed at the climax of negotiations which have already taken a positive course. The vice-versa can be really dangerous as there are not many alternatives left. America will try all on its shelf to minimise the risk of possible slips or miscommunications. There are valid concerns as the Trump administration is understaffed and there are no regional experts who can prepare a foolproof plan for the summit. Thus, Trump lacks a distinct understanding of the Korean peninsula with no special ambassador to South Korea or any special envoy to its Northern neighbour.
Experts have cautioned that North Korea has achieved its major objective by getting the most powerful leader in the world to sit with him and discuss denuclearisation as equals and it may use the talks to buy time to make further advancements on his nuclear program. In addition, very little preparation is being made by all the three major countries involved publically. There has to be a plan to foresee what course to take if things go bad.