A peaceful day in Korea. Give Trump some credit

Maybe Trump’s tough talk got in Kim’s head as new sanctions bit hard. And maybe the Chinese also played a big part in reining in North Korea. In any event, Trump deserves “credit for his role in making Friday possible.”

From the Chicago Tribune:

In a stunning diplomatic development, the leaders of North and South Korea met Friday at the demilitarized zone dividing their warring countries. They smiled, shook hands on both sides of the border and sat down for an engaging chat. Could this be the beginning of the end to the Cold War-era conflict that, on its worst days, raises the threat of nuclear war?

Get this: The day’s best analysis was also the simplest, tweeted by President Donald Trump, who wasn’t there at Panmunjom but played a key role in the breakthrough: “Good things are happening, but only time will tell!”

Yes, patience and skepticism are required. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, comes from wily stock. His father and grandfather ran their country, and ran it into the ground, as a hermetically sealed kingdom. The goal was regime preservation at all costs. Their strategy was to keep North Korea isolated, convince impoverished citizens they were under imminent threat of attack by the evil United States, and then arm themselves to the teeth to keep the world at bay. […]

And now … the promise of peace talks. North and South Korea are embracing each other. Kim is set to meet Trump within a month or two. It would be the first meeting of a North Korean leader and sitting U.S. president. On the table would be a formal end to the Korean War and denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

This is where it gets tricky. The U.S. wants North Korea to end its nuclear program before receiving economic aid in exchange. It’s possible Kim thinks he’s put North Korea in its best-ever negotiating position and is willing to strike a deal. Or it’s possible he’ll try to play the U.S. for whatever concessions he can obtain but isn’t serious about abandoning his arsenal. […]

Wherever this proceeds, give Trump credit for his role in making Friday possible.

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