The bombshell news of a planned face-to-face meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un has met mixed reactions. They range from cautions optimism to fears that “unscripted” remarks by the US President might derail the progress.
The announcement that Donald Trump has accepted Kim Jong-un’s invitation to a personal meeting to discuss North Korea’s denuclearization was welcomed to varying degrees by a number of US legislators and opinion-makers.
US sanctions are finally “starting to work,” stated the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ed Royce, noting that the administration can “pursue more diplomacy, as we keep applying pressure.”
Others, including Rex Tillerson, have been showing cautious optimism. Just hours before the announcement was made, the US Secretary of State noted that it is important to be “very clear-eyed and realistic about it,” stressing that the first step was to “have some kind of talks about talks.” Meanwhile, Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman, added that “we’re encouraged by this development but there’s a lot of work to be done.”
I urge @realDonaldTrump to see these discussions with Kim Jong-un as the beginning of a long diplomatic process. The President must abandon his penchant for unscripted remarks and bombastic rhetoric to avoid derailing this significant opportunity for progress. #NorthKorea
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) March 9, 2018
“This is a major improvement over diplomacy that consisted of shouting insults at each other,” William Perry, once Bill Clinton’s secretary of defense, told Politico.
Dennis Rodman, a former NBA superstar who met Kim during his travels to North Korea in 2013 and 2014, praised Trump’s willingness to negotiate with Pyongyang, telling the Associated Press that he stands ready to engage in “basketball diplomacy” in the coming months. “Well done, President Trump. You’re on the way to a historical meeting no US president has ever done,” Rodman said. “Please send my regards to Marshal Kim Jong-un and his family.”
Colorado’s Senator Cory Gardner (R) said that the “price of admission” to the negotiations table must be “complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.” Democrat Ed Markey of Massachusetts in the meantime advised Trump to avoid any “unscripted” remarks that could undo the progress “of a long diplomatic process.”
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