US/North Korea Talks Proposed

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US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby Marcuse » Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:26 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43345209

In a surprising move, Kim Jong Un has indicated in talks with South Korean representatives to a meeting with President Trump with a view to denuclearising the Korean peninsula. Trump appears to have accepted this invitation and a meeting is being arranged for May this year.

International reception seems to be mixed. Many countries threatened by NK appear to be cagey, including Japan and Britain. China and Russia appear to be more positive and are calling for this to be the opening of diplomatic relations between the two.
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby Doodle Dee. Snickers » Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:09 pm

*BLOVIATING WARNING*

Yeah, I'm not sure how to feel about this one. On the one hand, anything that gets us closer to a non-nuclear armed N. Korea is awesome. On the other hand...they have a long and storied history of re-negging on every promise they make. Shaking hands with an American president is like...the holy grail of North Korean dictators. Everything I've read of North Korea talks about how they kinda view themselves still at war with South Korea and the US (and they technically still are) and still hold a huge grudge against us for the Korean War that most Americans don't even remember happened.

So basically Kim is the little kid trying to get attention, and having an American president shake hands with him in front of the cameras would be a coup. We'd probably be humiliated for it by state TV over in NK (not that we should particularly care), there's no guarantee that perceptions of us would increase in NK, and there would be a decent chance that they're just angling to see sanctions lifted without actually giving anything up. Of course, on top of all that, there's Trump, who may just torpedo this whole thing by making a joke about Kim's hair or something in the middle of deliberations. On TOP of that, South Korea probably has more to do with this opportunity than either NK, China, or the US, and I would worry if NK uses this to gain more sway with SK and then again does nothing (or in other words, slowly turns SK against us).

With all that said, though, I do happen to favor a denuclearized NK and better relations regardless of the context. If we have to suffer a roasting over in NK but they keep their promises, then *shrug*. I'd feel better if like...Trump had scripted comments to read during and after the meeting, but then like...Pence, Haley, and Mattis were in the actual meeting while Trump ate burgers in some other room. So should Trump accept this invitation? Yeah, I think so.
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby Crimson847 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:06 pm

Well, they've seen Trump in action on guns, trade, and immigration these past few months. Maybe Kim figures if he just gets Trump in a room for five minutes, the latter will leave the room singing his praises and promising a free shipment of F-22s and Minuteman missiles. I don't know how they plan to get him to sign something binding before the GOP yanks his leash and he remembers what he's supposed to be doing, though.
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby Doodle Dee. Snickers » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:10 pm

Crimson847 wrote:Well, they've seen Trump in action on guns, trade, and immigration these past few months. Maybe Kim figures if he just gets Trump in a room for five minutes, the latter will leave the room singing his praises and promising a free shipment of F-22s and Minuteman missiles. I don't know how they plan to get him to sign something binding before the GOP yanks his leash and he remembers what he's supposed to be doing, though.


Well, that's one of my bigger fears, and that's why I hope he brings Tillerson, Pence, Haley, Mattis--basically the more sane, foreign-policy-minded, and skeptical types--and listens to them/lets them do the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing. I don't think this is a bad development at all, but because Trump's the president during this development, he better bring his A-game (whatever that looks like) and A-team. That group up there may be running their departments in ways people don't like, but I also think they're a lot more realistic and canny than Trump will be by comparison. That China and Russia are enthusiastic about this also worries me; I know it's in their interest as well as ours to calm down North Korea, but it still deeply worries me.

To more narrowly define the concerns I had up there, they're (in order of likelihood):

1. Trump will end up signing us into an agreement that North Korea will immediately not follow and that works in their favor, including lifting sanctions.
2. We'll be humiliated on the world stage for no gain at all.
3. That North Korea and China will use this to kinda play up the US as an antagonist and thus kinda morph South Korea into a neutral party--or at worst, a sympathetic one. Especially with us making very nice with Vietnam now, this could end up shifting the power in the region some.
4. That Trump says something stupid and makes relations worse. I actually don't think this is as realistic as some people would think, I'll give Trump some credit and say he will probably take this with a level of seriousness he only occasionally shows in the WH.
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby IamNotCreepy » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:25 pm

My worry here is that this is going to require finesse and tact, and Trump and his whole administration are completely unprepared for that. We don't even have a South Korean ambassador right now, and the advisor on North Korea recently quit.

Tillerson may be a calm, rational person, but he has gutted the State Department. The likelihood of us making a bad deal, offending someone, and/or embarrassing ourselves is high.
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby Doodle Dee. Snickers » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:30 pm

IamNotCreepy wrote:My worry here is that this is going to require finesse and tact, and Trump and his whole administration are completely unprepared for that. We don't even have a South Korean ambassador right now, and the advisor on North Korea recently quit.

Tillerson may be a calm, rational person, but he has gutted the State Department. The likelihood of us making a bad deal, offending someone, and/or embarrassing ourselves is high.


Well, right, but while Tillerson may be doing things wrong organizationally at the State Dept, that doesn't necessarily mean he's going to get outplayed in talks, you know what I mean? They're two different skillsets, and of Trump's different wings (domestic, economic, immigration, foreign policy), I tend to think of his foreign policy team as the most serious and competent of the groups, they just tend to get contradicted by the president all the time.
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby Marcuse » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:00 pm

Given a few people have commented on this, I'll chime in. I don't believe that the North Korean promise to halt weapons testing is genuine, nor do I believe they have any interest at all in "de-nuclearising" the Korean peninsula. The entire purpose of Kim Jong Un's pursuit of nuclear weapons was based in the long-standing narrative that North Korea faces an existential threat in the face of American military power, and the only way for them to effectively counter that is to acquire nuclear weapons to act as a deterrent. What's changed?

For the record, no the rapprochement over the Winter Olympics doesn't constitute change. At least, not sufficiently to make NK come to the table accepting the US/SK military exercises, promising unilaterally not to test any more missiles, and claiming to want to trade away their very newly acquired nukes for unspecified diplomatic benefits. I don't think even the Chinese restrictions would be enough to make them give up their nukes now that they have them, and I'm inherently suspicious of any statement from NK that implies or states that they are.

So why now? It seems like, following the more or less successful tests they've undertaken with no regard for anyone, they're satisfied with their capability and can now start exploiting it for political gain. I'd say that they're hoping to get the lifting of some sanctions, probably especially from sympathetic China, for the promise of disarming. But they won't actually allow anyone independent in to verify this. That has precedent in the past, and would make sense for what they're probably looking to achieve with this. The government in South Korea has enabled this by being willing to enter into dialogue with NK and only too happy to go along with the fantasy of a united Korea with a Kim in power in the North by fielding a united hockey team and accepting their dignitaries to sit in the same box as other world leaders despite being complicit in industrial scale human rights abuses and the effective imprisonment of an entire population.

Why Trump though? I can only assume they believe that he is actually an old fool, because most people in the rest of the world think that. Of course the office of the President should be respected, and it does carry power in it, but the person currently occupying it really shouldn't be there in terms of competence or skill in politics or diplomacy (at least when it comes to interpersonal skills). So what possibility would a face-to-face meeting between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump have to backfire? Infinite. What possibility would it have of actually leading to a denuclearised NK? Miniscule. Is it worth taking that risk? In the absence of any better option, taking the chance that it could work is better than resigning ourselves to a hostile pariah state in Korea, but I'm not holding my breath.

Of course, if it does work out and Trump ends up with a fucking Nobel Peace Prize it'll vindicate my theory that Obama and Trump are like polar opposites: Obama started as a politician and President who got a Nobel Peace Prize before he really did anything and turned into a reality TV star. Trump started as a reality TV star who then became President and won a Nobel Peace Prize. But then my world will collapse and the fabric of the universe will tear and then who will save us?
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby IamNotCreepy » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:19 pm

Doodle Dee. Snickers wrote:Well, right, but while Tillerson may be doing things wrong organizationally at the State Dept, that doesn't necessarily mean he's going to get outplayed in talks, you know what I mean? They're two different skillsets, and of Trump's different wings (domestic, economic, immigration, foreign policy), I tend to think of his foreign policy team as the most serious and competent of the groups, they just tend to get contradicted by the president all the time.


I do think Tillerson is fairly competent, but he is not an expert on Korean politics. The people who should be advising Tillerson and Trump on the finer points before going into negotiations are not there.

As Marc said, I also do not think NK's overture's are genuine. Even if they do agree to something, they are far enough along with their nuclear program for it to make a real difference. They probably won't comply with anything, but they'll get the sanctions lifted, at least for a time.
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby Crimson847 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:41 pm

In all seriousness, while I'm fully in agreement that this isn't the administration I'd want in the driver's seat for this negotiation, I don't think it's likely this meeting will end up making things significantly worse. Sure, Trump could say something dumb and make an ass of himself, thereby making us look bad in the process, but frankly he does that anyway. If Kim was prepared to go to war over an insulting remark from Trump, he would long since have done so. And other than provoking a war or making us look bad, there isn't a whole lot Trump can do here all by his lonesome. He'd need buy-in from others in the government or in other allied governments to do real damage, which limits his ability to do anything really batshit.
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby Doodle Dee. Snickers » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:19 pm

Crimson847 wrote:In all seriousness, while I'm fully in agreement that this isn't the administration I'd want in the driver's seat for this negotiation, I don't think it's likely this meeting will end up making things significantly worse. Sure, Trump could say something dumb and make an ass of himself, thereby making us look bad in the process, but frankly he does that anyway. If Kim was prepared to go to war over an insulting remark from Trump, he would long since have done so. And other than provoking a war or making us look bad, there isn't a whole lot Trump can do here all by his lonesome. He'd need buy-in from others in the government or in other allied governments to do real damage, which limits his ability to do anything really batshit.


Yeah, that's kinda my thought on it, don't everyone mistake my thoughts on the situation as blind optimism. This isn't the ideal time, and there are some pitfalls, but it's not like we have many cracks at NK, and quite frankly where Trump's concerned...you go to war with the army you have. A bad metaphor given the situation, I suppose, but this is the administration we have right now, so whatever.
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby cmsellers » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:07 am

As I recall, North Korea wanted unilateral talks because it increases their prestige, and for the same reason W. and Obama refused to give NK unilateral talks. So by agreeing to talks, DJT has already made things a little bit worse, though I suspect that the prestige these talks give to NK is all in the Kim family's heads.
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby Crimson847 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 3:52 am

cmsellers wrote:As I recall, North Korea wanted unilateral talks because it increases their prestige, and for the same reason W. and Obama refused to give NK unilateral talks. So by agreeing to talks, DJT has already made things a little bit worse, though I suspect that the prestige these talks give to NK is all in the Kim family's heads.


As it happens I disagreed with W and Obama on that. I get refusing to negotiate with Kim in response to threats, but refusing to talk to him period unless he gives us everything we want up front (i.e. an end to NK's nuclear program) without any concessions on our end effectively forecloses diplomacy as a real option. You can try to get China or SK to pull strings behind the scenes, but ultimately Kim is afraid of an American attack, not a Chinese or South Korean attack. So it is America that will have to reassure him of our peaceful intentions before he'll give up his only effective means of defense, and we can't do that if we won't even talk to NK directly.
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"If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them; but the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby iMURDAu » Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:54 pm

Part of me thinks that North Korea has dreams about trying to hold Trump for ransom if he visits because they think they're the villains in an 80's movie.

But they're just wanting to be seen as serious and worth taking seriously on the world stage. Which makes me wonder why "not a politician" is granting their wish.
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby Aquila89 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:06 am

iMURDAu wrote:Part of me thinks that North Korea has dreams about trying to hold Trump for ransom if he visits


What, they'll threaten to let him go if they don't get paid?
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Re: US/North Korea Talks Proposed

Postby Doodle Dee. Snickers » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:24 pm

iMURDAu wrote:Part of me thinks that North Korea has dreams about trying to hold Trump for ransom if he visits because they think they're the villains in an 80's movie.


Somehow, I think Pence wouldn't work too hard to get him back .
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