Doubts on all sides in US as Trump-Kim summit looms
The self-proclaimed master dealmaker is facing doubts from multiple corners as he prepares to negotiate with Kim Jong Un.
Ahead of President Donald Trump’s landmark summit next week with the North Korean leader, U.S. allies and many Republicans are raising concerns that he may impulsively give in on issues they say should be deal-breakers for the United States.
Ambiguity about exactly what “denuclearization” must look like has left some wringing their hands, while others fear he may yield on a longtime North Korean wish that the U.S. withdraw some or all of its military presence on the Korean Peninsula.
In particular, national security hawks have voiced worries about Kim’s intentions and his willingness to actually follow through on any commitment he might make in Singapore.
“My suspicion remains that he is going to try to get as much sanctions relief as possible without having to give up his weapons,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
Rubio, who applauded Trump’s now-reversed decision to cancel the summit, said at the time that it was apparent that Kim’s goal “was either to gain sanctions relief in exchange for nothing or to collapse international sanctions by making the U.S. appear to be the unreasonable party.”
The concerns have been voiced on both sides of the aisle in Congress, where top Senate Democrats have sent Trump a letter insisting any deal will be a bad one unless it forces North Korea to comply with a long list of onerous demands. Even Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, generally averse to publicly criticizing fellow Republican leaders, warned the president last week that “you could get snookered.”
In their letter, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for any agreement with North Korea to meet five key points: that all weapons of mass destruction be removed or dismantled; that there be no uranium enrichment or plutonium reprocessing; that it end all ballistic missile testing; that it allow “anytime, anywhere” inspections of its facilities; and that a deal be permanent.
Trump, clearly eager for a summit he can sell as a success, has played into the concerns that he may find himself outmatched at the negotiating table by Kim.