WASHINGTON — Who sits where? What’s on the agenda? Will they eat together? What’s the security plan?
President Donald Trump and his team have a daunting to-do list to work through as they prepare for next month’s expected summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump’s plan to meet with Kim may have come as a surprise decision, but his team hopes to leave nothing to chance when they come together in Singapore. They’re gaming out policy plans, negotiating tactics, even menu items.
“We’re working on the details, the actual blocking and tackling at the meeting,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” ”We have been working on them for weeks.”
With two unpredictable leaders, it’s hard to anticipate every possibility. But White House aides are expecting hard-ball negotiating tactics — already in evidence this week as the North Koreans cast fresh doubt on the sit-down.
Leader summits on this level are a massive undertaking. Much like icebergs, only a small fraction of the work is visible above the waterline. And when the meeting involves the heads of two technically still-warring states, the list of logistical concerns expands, including sensitive items like the number and deployment of security officers. Officials on both sides are still determining the format for the meeting or meetings, whether Trump and Kim will share a meal, and the extent of any one-on-one interactions.
All of that comes as the U.S. formulates its strategies for the talks, including what the U.S. is prepared to give up and how precisely to define “denuclearization” on the Korean Peninsula — Trump’s stated goal.
“I would say there are hundreds if not thousands of hours put into summit preparations,” said Patrick McEachern, a public policy fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a former State Department official.
Scott Mulhauser, a former chief of staff at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, said that in the leadup to summit meetings, staffs try to anticipate the various negotiating positions their counterparts might take, adding that “if you’re not gaming that out, you’re not preparing adequately.”
Trump is relying heavily on his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, in preparing for the summit. Pompeo has met with Kim twice in Pyongyang, once as secretary of state and once as CIA chief, and has spent more time with the reclusive leader than any other American official. The amount of face time Pompeo has had with Kim rivals even that …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – News