President Trump has done what no other president has been able to, initiating a conversation to end the conflict on the Korean peninsula and perhaps bring peace.
But there is a danger he won’t be ready, according to the mainstream media.
Reporters pounced on a quote from Trump as he prepared to leave for Canada for the G-7 meetings and then on to Singapore for the summit next week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he doesn’t “think I have to prepare very much. It’s about attitude. It’s about willingness to get things done.”
The Associated Press story on this mentioned three-quarters of the way in that “Administration officials indicated that Trump actually was putting in preparation time” that Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, said “There were few days that I left the Oval Office, after having briefed the president [in his former role as CIA director] that we didn’t talk about North Korea.”
But the story focused mostly on why Trump should not have been the president to undertake negotiations with North Korea, even though an end to the Korean War has been a US foreign policy goal for 50 years.
It quoted Pompeo has saying Trump’s approach is “fundamentally different” from prior administrations in which “there’d been months and months of detailed negotiations and they got nowhere” and this “has already driven us to a place we’d not been able to achieve.”
But this is not the accomplishment Trump or Pompeo say it is, according to the AP story.
“Christopher Hill, the lead U.S. negotiator with North Korea during the George W. Bush administration, said a summit with the North had long been available to U.S leaders.
“’The fact was no U.S. president wanted to do this, and for good reason,’ he said. ‘It’s a big coup for (the North Koreans), so the question is whether we can make them pay for it.’”
CBS News quoted Trump saying, “I think I’ve been preparing for this summit a long time, as has the other side … So this isn’t a question of preparation. It’s a question of whether or not people want it to happen.
It then employed the “questions-were-raised” predicate: “But that remark raises the question – our reporters have asked in the past – about what exactly the president is doing, days out from the summit, to prepare. Mr. Trump did say he has ‘been preparing for this summit for a long time.’
“The administration first announced the president’s intention to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in early March, leaving only a few months to prepare.”
It then quoted Pompeo listing a series of things the president has done to prepare. He has received “near-daily” briefings on the situation “over months and months, days and days … about the military aspects of it; the commercial, economic aspects of it; the history of the relationship,” the secretary of state said.
In addition, the two sides already have worked to narrow the definition of “denuclearization” and made clear to the North Koreans “the US will settle for nothing less than complete, verifiable, denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
“But more specific details of what the president has been doing to prepare haven’t been provided” and that one anonymous White House official has said “June 12th [the day the summit is set to begin] is in 10 minutes and the president has said that someday he looks forward to meeting with him.”
The Washington Post also expressed discomfort with Trump’s level of preparation.
In a story headlined, “Trump dangled White House Visit for North Korea’s Kim if Summit Goes Well, it reported: “Early Thursday, Trump proclaimed himself ready for the summit, which is taking place with no precooked outcome and without the usual months or years of run-up meetings among lower-level aides. The Trump administration has scheduled and planned for the session over a span of three months.”
It then quoted Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.), “With ICMBs and nuclear warheads in the hands of North Korea, the situation is far too dangerous for seat-of-the-pants negotiating.”