South Korea’s foreign minister will touch down in Washington DC today for her first meeting with US counterpart Mike
South Korea’s foreign minister will touch down in Washington DC today for her first meeting with US counterpart Mike Pompeo.
Secretary of State Pompeo travelled to North Korea for the second time in a month on Wednesday, in the process securing the freedom of three US citizens. Their release came after a 90-minute closed-door discussion with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, during which discussions turned to plans for a Kim-Trump summit slated for late May.*
While the positive optics generated by Wednesday’s prisoner release provides President Trump a political victory, it is this key summit that will be the topic of discussion at today’s meeting between Pompeo and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.
Crucially, the two countries must decide what concessions they are willing to make in a bid to get North Korea to denuclearise. Potential bargaining chips include a reduction of joint military exercises, the withdrawal of US troops from South Korea and, perhaps most tantalisingly for Pyongyang, the lifting of trade sanctions.
However, for decades North Korea has negotiated deals only to renege on their commitments after receiving some benefit—a cautionary tale that will remain front and centre during today’s discussions.
*Trump has since confirmed the meeting will take place in Singapore on June 12.
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