June 19, 2018, 7:53 pm
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Diplomacy simplified

TOMORROW, a President of the United States and a leader of North Korea are going to meet, a historic moment, in the hope of eventually resolving the half-a-century old division on the Korean Peninsula.

It is going to be a much-anticipated, much-watched meeting between two apparently mercurial men: Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

Each man is a character. The US president is a millionaire who built an empire in real estate and casinos, and surprised the world with a massive upset in the presidential elections of 2016 after upsetting the establishment of the political party he decided to join for the purpose. Of course, that victory is now embroiled in questions surrounding allegations that it was made possible “with a little bell from friends,” particularly friends from Russia.

The North Korean leader, on the other hand, is the third in his family to rule his enigmatic country since the 1950s and the first to have been schooled in the West. His rise to the top was not a surprise, and what he did to potential rivals – including an uncle and a brother – was no surprise as well.

What is surprising is this summit. It comes after months and months of escalating tensions – missile tests and nuclear explosions from North Korea followed by nasty tweets against “Rocket Man” by the US president. The latter even promised – during a speech at the United Nations – that North Korea would be subjected to a punishing the world has never seen.

But at the flick of a finger the two men are about to meet in a hotel on a tourist attraction of an island off Singapore. After decades of complicated diplomacy involving as well the South Koreans, the Japanese and the Chinese (the acknowledged patrons of North Korea), diplomacy is now boiling down to the face-to-face encounter between Trump and Kim.

And the questions are many: Will the author of “The Art of the Deal” walk away with the biggest deal of his life, one potentially worthy of a Nobel Prize? Will the third Kim find a solution to end the isolation of his country without giving up its ability to put up a stiff resistance to any threats of invasion? Will the meeting result in bold steps leading to the eventual reunification of the Korean Peninsula?

Or will the Singapore summit end up a convenient excuse for Trump to leave the G-7 summit ahead of everyone else and for Kim to see Universal Studios?

We will not know the answers until after the reports are in. What we know is that when leaders come face to face somehow diplomacy is simplified.
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