Trump Rolls the Dice on Kim Jong Un
Donald Trump is taking a big gamble in agreeing to a summit with Kim Jong Un in what would be the first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.
Having threatened to rain “fire and fury” on Kim, can a man who brags about his negotiating skills bring a dictator in from the cold?
That and many other questions remain unanswered. What might Trump put on the table? North Korea wants a “security guarantee” from the U.S., i.e. the withdrawal of troops from the peninsula. But Trump’s already said he won’t make concessions without verifiable denuclearization.
It’s also unclear if Kim would let United Nations inspectors in, and why he would give up his weapons — his only bargaining chip.
For decades, the Kim family has honed its skills in the game of nuclear chicken: push to the brink of conflict, then suddenly offer olive branches in return for economic aid. Talks invariably collapse and tensions resume.
Trump can rightfully claim some credit for getting things this far. But accepting a meeting may just give Kim the recognition he craves. History is not on Trump’s side on this one.
Just in … With the right-wing League prospecting for votes among the remaining lawmakers of Italy’s Democratic Party to form a government, Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio is considering dropping his opposition to trading ministerial jobs for votes, John Follain reports. Although he has the biggest single party in the new parliament, the anti-establishment group risks being outmaneuvered by the League.
Tariff exemption scramble | With the stroke of a pen, Trump has set off a race among nations and companies to win relief from his steel and aluminum tariffs. European Union trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom vowed to press for an EU exemption when she meets tomorrow with her American counterpart in Brussels. “Europe is certainly not a threat to American internal security, so we expect to be excluded,” Malmstrom told reporters this morning.
Symbolic victory | Trump and the Republican Party are being forced to put their political muscle into the race for a Pennsylvania U.S. House seat that should be theirs for the taking. A loss in Tuesday’s special election in a part of the state that Trump won by 20 points would be yet another sign of party weakness heading into the November midterm elections that will decide control of Congress.
Brexit talks delay | Brexit negotiators on both sides say they want to seal the deal by October, but British officials privately think talks will drag into next year, Emma Ross-Thomas, Ian Wishart and Tim Ross exclusively report. They say January is the real deadline for reaching an agreement on the U.K.’s departure and still leaving enough time for the treaty to be ratified by U.K. and EU lawmakers before the divorce in March 2019. For business that means the uncertainty will last even longer.
A pipeline even the Taliban can love | After decades of talks, Afghanistan broke ground on a $7.5 billion gas pipeline that has an unusual backer: the Taliban. A spokesman for the militants said it’s their responsibility to revive key economic and reconstruction work. The endorsement from a group that’s fought the U.S.-backed government in Kabul for the past 17 years raises a slight hope for a political settlement even as violence continues to rage.
Mexico’s challenger | For a presidential hopeful, to have an associate caught on camera referring to top law-enforcement officials as “sons of bitches” wouldn’t be a good look. But in Mexico, such a scandal has helped Ricardo Anaya, the tech-savvy 39-year-old who's challenging both the giant ruling party machine and populist front-runner Lopez Obrador in the race for the nation’s top office. Nacha Cattan examines why.
Saudi deals | Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II in a three-day charm offensive by Saudi Arabia to burnish the 32-year-old’s credentials. The two countries signed $2.1 billion deals during the visit that ends today, stretching from energy to real estate. For a story on Saudi Arabia enlisting blue-chip lobbyists in Washington to advise on building nuclear power plants, click here.
And finally... Thousands of airlifted dairy cows landed in Qatar at the start of a Saudi Arabian-led boycott against the country in June. On Sunday, Holstein cattle bred in California, Arizona and Wisconsin are scheduled to arrive by ship, and together with the existing stock, they’ll be able to more than meet Qatar’s demand for fresh milk. The American cow has become the undisputed mascot for Doha’s defiance.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.