Art of the Deal: KJU Sprints Back to Table After Trump Cancels Summit


Could Thursday’s announcement that the United States was cancelling its summit with the North Koreans be yet another sign that the Trump administration is driving a hard bargain? Well, let’s put it this way: Kim Jong Un is rushing back to the table with a decided quickness.

So, as you likely know, the much-awaited summit between the president and Kim in Singapore is off for the moment. On Thursday, the president sent the North Korean leader a letter saying that “based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting.”

However, we kind of have to back up a bit to figure out just what that statement meant — and look at what it precipitated.

As we also likely know, the summit in Singapore had come about after Kim met with South Korean President Moon Jae In and promised to move toward denuclearization. Things were looking pretty good. Dare we say … Nobelesque?

That’s when Kim Jong Un began acting a bit — well, like Kim Jong Un.

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First, the North Korean dictator issued a strong statement against joint South Korean and United States military exercises, exercises that had been scheduled long before Kim had met with either President Moon or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had traveled to Pyongyang.

Townhall’s Katie Pavlich also reported that the North Koreans “refused to denuclearize in a complete and verifiable way.” Then, suddenly, they stopped talking to the South Koreans or Americans altogether.

“We were rocking” in preparation for the planned meeting in Singapore, Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.

However, he said nobody was picking up on the other end.

“The summit was halted because we couldn’t get them (North Korea) to pick up the phone. There was radio silence,” one senior official said.

Then on Wednesday, North Korea went full North Korea, issuing a statement calling Vice President Mike Pence a “dummy” and threatening America with nuclear war for something like the 816th time.

“Whether the U.S. will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States,” a statement from North Korean Vice Minister Choe Son Hui read.

That’s what prompted the cancellation. However, in spite of the letter, Trump seemed to keep the possibility of a meeting open, although he did add that our military was at the ready.

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“If and when Kim Jong Un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting. In the meantime, our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign will continue as it has been continuing,” Trump said in a statement.

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It didn’t take long before Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan was sounding a significantly different tune.

The Associated Press reported Friday that he announced the country was willing to sit down with the United States “at any time, at any format” and was “willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities” to reconsider.

Kim, meanwhile, is said to have called the cancellation of talks “unexpected” and “very regrettable,” and said that North Korea’s “objective and resolve to do our best for the sake of peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and all humankind remain unchanged.”


Now that the Supreme Court has legalized state-sponsored betting, I’m curious if I can make a wager on whether or not the North Korean summit actually happens.

I’d be willing to put a ton of money on this meeting actually happening, and all without saber-rattling from Pyongyang.

Kim’s complaint about the joint exercises was exactly what everyone thought it was: empty posturing. After a month or two of behaving like a sane individual, he wanted to go back to the good old days when everything that didn’t go Pyongyang’s way was met with minatory rage.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to get sanctions removed or the international community on Kim’s side. Trump knew it, and called his bluff.

Apparently, Kim is certainly ready to pick up the phone now, and we don’t hear quite as much grumbling about those military exercises.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture