South Korean media in the past day or so have come out with stories about the Trump administration’s supposed proposals for Kim Jong Un and North Korea during the upcoming summit.
The Chosun Ilbo, the biggest paper in South Korea, has one scoop, which it translated for its English website. The gist is that Trump wants North Korea to dispose of its weapons “in the shortest time possible” and may propose that it do so by the end of the year. That’s more evidence that the U.S. line in these discussions will be at odds with both North Korea and South Korea, which favor a drawn-out process. Other South Korean newspapers went with it from there. One English example here.
Dong-a Ilbo, the No. 2 paper by circulation (at least when I was there), reported that the U.S. is preparing to offer a “partial normalization” of relations, including possibly an embassy in Pyongyang. That was on offer during the Six Party Talks more than a decade ago, too, so it doesn’t seem far-fetched.
Since these stories are not happening first in the U.S. media, it seems likely that South Korean officials are telling their reporters what they are hearing from their talks with the White House. The Times reported on Wednesday about the close consultation work between the two countries. Reuters reported that South Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, was due to meet the new U.S. national security adviser, John Bolton, today (Thursday).
Meanwhile, in Seoul, President Moon Jae-in is showing more respect for the country’s former diplomats and interlocutors with North Korea than Trump does to America’s experts. Moon is also teeing expectation levels sky-high. He also seems to not want to involve Japan, which wants its abductees raised with Kim, or touch on human rights matters.
And the Hong Kong-based China-U.S. Focus website polls experts in China and the U.S. who think that the prospects for a Trump-Kim summit are rising.