Donald Trump Hasn’t Prepared Much for North Korea Summit

With just one month until a scheduled sit-down with ’s leader, President Donald Trump hasn’t set aside much time to prepare for meeting with Kim Jong Un, a stark contrast to the approach of past presidents.

“He doesn’t think he needs to,” said a senior administration official familiar with the President’s preparation. Aides plan to squeeze in time for Trump to learn more about Kim’s psychology and strategize on ways to respond to offers Kim may make in person, but so far a detailed plan hasn’t been laid out for getting Trump ready for the summit.

Even with North Korea threatening to scrap the meeting over long-planned U.S.-Korean military exercises, Trump’s aides in the and State Department are continuing to prepare briefing material in advance of the June 12 summit in Singapore. When asked Wednesday if he thinks Kim is bluffing, Trump responded, “We’ll see what happens.” He told reporters he still plans to insist on North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons.

Typically, administrations undertake extensive preparation and negotiations with multiple agencies to get ready for a high-level meeting like this.

“There is no more carefully planned for, anticipated or curated event that the U.S. government participates in than a presidential-level negotiation with an adversary,” says David Pressman, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for special political affairs.

The National Security Council, the State Department, the Department of Defense and the intelligence community all playing a role in coming up with a negotiating strategy to ensure that “when the two principals met, there was some kind of understanding of what they were going to talk about, what potential agreement they would reach, and a lot of it would be relatively well scripted,” Jay Lefkowitz, who served as President George W. Bush’s Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea, told TIME last month.

 

 

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