Donald Trump, the president of the United States, has said that he would be interested in meeting the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un if the circumstances permitted. This comes amidst an escalation of tensions with the hermit state issuing threats to and vowing to continue its missile development and tests despite sanctions.
“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it. If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that,” said Trump in an interview with Bloomberg.
Immediately after the comments were made public, some senators from the Republican Party issued caution. The U.S. Senate’s Armed Services Committee chair, Senator John McCain, warned against such a move saying it would serve to legitimize a rogue regime that has proven to be a bad actor on the global stage. According to the Republican Senator of Arizona, the only time Trump should meet with the North Korean leader was when discussing details concerning the secretive state’s plans of dismantling their nuclear weapons program.
McCain’s remarks were echoed by the Republican Senator of South Carolina, Lindsey Graham. The South Carolinian was cautious of such a meeting because it would serve to empower Kim Jong-un but then added that if a meeting was what it would take to stop North Korea from building a nuclear-tipped inter-continental ballistic missile targeting America, then he would be all for it.
National security matter
Currently, North Korea poses the biggest threat to the national security of the United States and has also become the biggest foreign policy matter that Trump has faced in his young administration. Despite sanctions and international condemnation, North Korea has continued to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. Military experts believe that if the hermit state is not stopped, it could develop a missile capable of reaching the United States in three years.
A meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un is, however, unlikely to take place given that the latter has shown no interest in meeting other world leaders since he rose to power following the death of his father in 2011. The 33-year old leader of North Korea is also unlikely to leave the country even for brief periods since this could put his hold on power at risk as the possibility of a coup engineered by his domestic enemies greatly increases. Additionally, denuclearization is not likely to ever be an agenda for a meeting as even severe sanctions have failed in this aspect.