Being realistic about Trump-Kim talks: China Daily

In its editorial, the paper urges Beijing to play an active role in bringing about a convergence of realistic expectations from the summit.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) at the Peace House on the Demilitarised Zone in Panmunjom, South Korea and US President Donald Trump at the White House.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) at the Peace House on the Demilitarised Zone in Panmunjom, South Korea and US President Donald Trump at the White House.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Everything appears to be rosy ahead of the planned meeting between US President Donald Trump and Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump expressed his personal appreciation to Kim after three US citizens who had been detained by Pyongyang for anti-state activities were released on Wednesday.

The DPRK's official news agency, KCNA, reported that Kim had decided to grant amnesty to the three Americans at the "suggestion" of the US president.

The move came just hours after the government leaders of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea expressed their shared commitment to preserving and promoting the positive momentum on the Korean Peninsula at their long-postponed tripartite summit meeting in Tokyo.

And it has been a while since they all agreed on something.

And it came the day after Kim made his second visit to China to meet with President Xi Jinping, just 40 days after his first visit, which was also his first trip outside his country since he became leader.

During their cordial conversations in the northeastern coastal city of Dalian, Kim reiterated his willingness to denuclearise and his hopes that the upcoming summit with Trump would lead to lasting peace for his country and the Korean Peninsula.


History has hardly seen such broad-based support for substantive headway to be made in resolving the Korean Peninsula situation.

With all the direct stakeholders enthusiastically engaged, it is becoming seemingly more possible by the day that the "historic meeting" Kim anticipates will produce what Trump hopes will be a "very successful deal".

But it is that very desire that may prevent it from being realised.

Anyone anticipating that "complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation" can be obtained with just a snap of the fingers, is probably destined to be disappointed.

That Pyongyang is actively promoting rapprochement, and has openly embraced the idea of ultimate denuclearisation is indeed a very encouraging development.

And, considering the shared interest in a negotiated outcome for the protracted crisis, the region may be closer than ever to untying what has long been a Gordian knot.

However, let us not ignore Kim's statement that a successful summit with the US president will only be "a fine first step toward building a fine future".

And given Washington's apparent eagerness for immediate outcomes and Pyongyang's preference for things to proceed in a step-by-step manner, a lot still needs to be straightened out in order to bridge what could be an unsurmountable gap.

Given the role it has been playing in facilitating the progress that has been achieved so far, Beijing can play a more active role in this respect by promoting a convergence of pragmatic expectations for the upcoming meeting.

China Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media entities.