What did the June 12 summit in Singapore between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un actually yield for each side?
Kim Jong-un achieved the following results in the Singapore meeting:
1Legitimization of his regime internationally, by meeting with and being the object of lavish praise by the president of the United States;
2An unexpected and long-sought freeze on U.S.-South Korea joint exercises announced by President Trump, with the additional virtue of dividing the United States from South Korea and Japan, who were blindsided by the announcement;
3A suggestion by President Trump that U.S. strategic bombers based in Guam should not conduct exercises in Korea, an important step toward affirming Pyongyang’s definition of denuclearization of the entire Korean peninsula;
4A denunciation of U.S.-South Korea exercises by President Trump as provocative;
5A summit that is sure to greatly accelerate the process of erosion of sanctions against North Korea, first by China, Russia, and South Korea, and inevitably by others to follow;
6A promise from President Trump to invite Kim Jong-un to the White House;
7The stated desire of President Trump to withdraw all U.S. forces from South Korea;
8A U.S. commitment to provide security guarantees to North Korea; and
9A mortal blow to the U.S. ability to either increase sanctions or threaten use of force for the foreseeable future.
President Trump achieved the following:
1A significant decrease in the war atmosphere that prevailed in the Korean peninsula over the last year, fanned by North Korean nuclear and missile tests and American threats of use of force;
2A halt in North Korean nuclear and missile testing, put in place by the North Koreans months ago primarily as a good will gesture to South Korean President Moon Jae-in;
3Permission for the United States to resume MIA remains searches in North Korea, originally begun under President Clinton and halted by Pyongyang in 2005;
4A bare-bones North Korean reaffirmation of the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, with no details, road map, or timetable; and
5The release, before the Singapore meeting, of three Americans imprisoned by North Korea on trumped-up charges.
In this case, the art of the deal seems to be to give your negotiating partner what he is seeking, and then some, while counting on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to produce the results the United States needs in subsequent negotiations. Good luck to Secretary Pompeo.