The world woke up to the shocking news this morning that Donald Trump had agreed to meet Kim Jong-un to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.
Trump will become the first ever U.S. president to meet with a North Korean leader, which is a pretty bold move. Not everyone was impressed, however, with some critics suggesting it’s essentially a massive win for Jong-un.
"I explained to President Trump that his leadership, and his maximum pressure policy, together with international solidarity, brought us to this juncture," South Korea's national security adviser says outside of The White House pic.twitter.com/5YL4XqiCPz— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) March 9, 2018
But if Trump did, somehow, manage to pull off the totally unexpected, what would this mean for the region and his legacy?
North Korea expert Professor Robert E Kelly, who became a viral sensation after an infamously hilarious BBC interview, weighed in with his thoughts this morning:
“How have things changed so rapidly, because we thought relations were at an extremely low point. Six months ago, Trump was promising to rain down fire fury, like the world has never seen on North Korea. And now?” @jo_coburn asks @Robert_E_Kelly about Kim-Trump meeting #bbcdp pic.twitter.com/Q1cTKH9YcT— BBC Daily Politics and Sunday Politics (@daily_politics) March 9, 2018
We spoke to retired diplomat James Edward Hoare, whose last post was establishing the British Embassy in North Korea, to try and wrap our heads around it all…
How important is this upcoming meeting with the North Korean leader?
If we can move away from bluster and threats, and a real possibility of a serious [nuclear] mistake, that would be quite an achievement. But it will not be easy. I mean, 60 years of hostility and tension will not disappear overnight.
What are the chances of Trump being successful with the talks?
Trump presumably wants a non-nuclear North Korea that will no longer pose a threat to his country. He may also want international and domestic acclaim. Whether he will get either is a moot point.
If he were to pull off an unexpected deal to denuclearise North Korea, do you think he could win a Nobel peace prize? Are there any circumstances under which he could win one?
Honestly, I don’t think so. There are lots of hard problems that have to be resolved before we get to that!
What would such a prize mean for this legacy – especially with regard to foreign policy - if it did happen?
When it comes to Trump, it quite simply means fame and acclaim.