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Trump, Kim Jong Un meeting takes all by surprise

Stephen Oreilly

DONALD Trump caused a stir with the announcement yesterday that he was prepared to meet the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, perhaps taking some of his own administration by surprise. Later in the day secretary of state Rex Tillerson put a cautionary note into the proceedings when he emphasised that while the US president was prepared to meet Mr Kim, this would not necessarily mean negotiations between the nations.

Even a meeting which does not amount to negotiations would have been unthinkable right up until yesterday. Public interaction between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump had at times resembled the sort of name-calling witnessed in any primary school yard at lunchtime.

So it is amazing that Mr Trump can go from referring to a nation's leader as 'little rocket man' just a matter of weeks ago, to stating that he is prepared to meet that leader.

While on the face of it, it should be better that the leaders could at least meet, some experts are not so sure. A former British diplomat speculated on breakfast television that such an encounter could theoretically prove damaging.

It is to be hoped that will not be the case and that this meeting will lead to a constructive dialogue between the countries, a dialogue which will lessen tensions between North and South Korea as well as the United States of America.

It is very difficult to predict just what will come out of the White House on a day-to-day basis. What is clear is that Mr Trump is determined to deliver on some of his election pledges, pledges such as taxing steel imports. The president signed off on that pledge yesterday despite being urged not to by some of his advisory team, one of whom resigned over the matter.

The move has encouraged worries that countries and trading blocs affected by the move will retaliate with punitive tariffs on American-made imports to their jurisdictions, leading in effect to a trade war.

If that is the case the imposition of tariffs by Trump could eventually do his own country more damage than good, something which some of his advisors have probably warned him about.

While the possibility of increasing tensions because of a combative economic policy is disturbing, when it is considered that the issues which separate the US from North Korea include the development of nuclear weapons, it is to be hoped that the president will be well-advised and that he considers that advice carefully.

Looking at this development optimistically this meeting could be the key to taking the nuclear threat out of the hands of one of the most reprehensible dictatorships in the world today. It is to be hoped that this will be the outcome of this development.

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