President Trump brings strong U.S. negotiating team to Singapore

by | Jun 11, 2018 |

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President Trump and Kim Jong Un are now ready for their historic nuclear summit in Singapore. Both are now in Singapore and both will meet tomorrow morning one-on-one during Tuesday’s historic summit in Singapore.
Along with President Trump will be a team of seasoned North Korean experts who are also skilled negotiators in a wide array of areas from Asia and the Pacific, nuclear weapons and intelligence. But The White House has remained tight-lipped about who will be negotiating with the North Korean team in Singapore – that said, America Out Loud has a good idea of who makes up the Trump’s U.S. negotiating team.
The aim and goal of that team is positioned upon three major outcomes;

  1. The complete denuclearization of North Korea
  2. Verifiable proof of the total removal of all nuclear weapons research and development, nuclear warheads, and ballistic missiles
  3. Irreversible capability of all nuclear warfare programs

For Chairman Kim, President Trump has stated that this is a one-time chance for the North Korea leader by doing something great for his people.
As mention, a small circle of U.S. advisers has travelled with the President. These experts have already been involved in the behind the scenes talks during the build-up to the Singapore North Korean Nuclear Summit. They will actually be at the center of the event.
First off, as well as President Donald Trump and his key staff to include General John Kelly, Kelly Ann Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, are Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who will play essentially the leading role, beside President Trump. Additionally, National Security Adviser John Bolton will also will play a critical role. Ambassador Bolton is the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and was the former Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control.
The second layer of the U.S. will be the workhorses of the effort who have been and will be the strategists, the heavy-lifters and experts I mention who will drive the larger and expanded bi-lateral negotiations and working lunch within the Summit. So who else will be involved and will participate?
1). Andrew Kim – Korean-American Andrew Kim is the head of the CIA’s Korea Mission Center. Mr. Kim was born and raised in South Korea under the name Kim Sung-hyun, the Washington Post reported. He attended the prestigious Seoul High School, which boasts South Korea’s national security adviser and intelligence agency director as alumni, before moving to the U.S. during college. Further, he worked with the CIA for the majority of his career, serving in Moscow, Beijing, Bangkok, and Seoul. While Mr. Kim had retired, at the President’s request, the CIA brought him back to lead the new Korea Mission Center, last month.
In the lead up to the summit, Mr. Kim seems to have become SecState Pompeo’s right-hand-man for all things related to North Korea – including; planning strikes, drafting options, preliminary negotiations to bring the two nations to the Summit. Nevertheless, he has been described by both South Korean and Japanese media as Trump’s a “messenger from hell” due to his hawkish stance as a tough, smart, and shrewd negotiator on North Korea.
2). Sung Kim – Veteran diplomat Sung Kim is the current U.S. ambassador to the Philippines. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea between 2011-2014 and was a U.S. special envoy in the Six-Party talks. Ambassador Kim was born in Seoul, but grew up in Los Angeles. As a diplomat, he served in Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong. During his time in Washington, he was the special representative for North Korea policy in Washington. At the State Department, he served as Director of the Office of Korean Affairs and as Staff Assistant in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs. He recently led the U.S. delegation to meet North Korean officials at the border to discuss and negotiate the agreement between the U.S., South Korea, and Pyongyang to hold the talks. A South Korean official noted that Mr. Kim was “capable, level-headed, cautious”, with a “solid grasp of the issues and expert who knows North Koreans well”.
3). Randall Shriver – a top aide to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who has been instrumental in laying the groundwork for the upcoming Summit and follow-on meetings between the countries. Mr. Shriver is a former Navy intelligence officer and State Department diplomat who now serves as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, and has been holding talks with North Korean delegates at the DMZ for weeks. Over past several months has he travelled to Pyongyang with Secretary Mike Pompeo. Further, from 1994-98 he worked for the Pentagon on day-to-day relations with the Chinese military and bilateral relations with Taiwan. He previously served as president and CEO of Project 2049, a think tank specializing in Asian security issues.
4). Allison Hooker – she is a Korean peninsula specialist on the White House National Security Council, which she joined in 2014. She was formerly a member of the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research where she was responsible for North Korean nuclear policy. Ms. Hooker and has been a key U.S. expert and negotiator a previous international nuclear security summits. In addition, in 2017, she was chosen by the White House to be part of the U.S. delegation to the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in PyeongChang. Similarly, she has travelled to North Korea to negotiate the release of American detainees. During such trips, she also met powerful North Korean General Kim Yong-chol.
And then there is a final critical member of President Trump’s delegation. The wild card on the U.S. entourage is the president’s own daughter, and White House adviser, Ivanka Trump who led the U.S. delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics. The games, which were attended by North Korea, were pivotal and paved the way for these peace talks. If you recall, during her time there at the games, she sat in the stands beside the North Korean leader’s sister, Kim Yo Jong. It was Kim Yo Jong who was launched a diplomatic offense at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. At one point the two women shook hands as cameras documented the historic moment. Remember Kim Jung Un loves American Culture and for him to have the opportunity to meet American icons such as Dennis Rodman, others — meaning Ivanka.
One other point I need to make is that of the absence of First Lady Melania Trump from the Singapore Summer has only added to the speculation that Ms. Trump perhaps may make a surprise appearance. So we’ll see.
So what are the possible initial outcomes from Singapore Nuclear Summit that we might anticipate? President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un are planning to meet one-on-one during Tuesday’s historic summit in Singapore. At this point, most current analysis seems to indicate that that the summit now is unlikely to last longer than one day.
To begin, Mr. Trump is set to meet with Kim at the beginning of the summit. Both leaders will be joined only by translators and will spend a couple of hours before admitting their close advisers to the meeting. Despite some of the formalities of the summit, it is set to kick off with a handshake between Trump and Kim, a symbolic image that may define the future of millions of people. Again, President Trump’s meeting with Kim will be the first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader in history. In practice, this is the start of the deal and Trump and Kim would effectively be creating a road map for future negotiations, while offering up the usual diplomatic boilerplate.
The president said Saturday that he’ll understand Kim’s intentions “within the first minute” of meeting him and whether he’s willing to give up the nuclear arsenal. President Trump further noted that; “I feel that Kim Jong Un wants to do something great for his people.” The president’s remarks called during a press conference in Canada during the G7 summit over the weekend. “It’s a one-time shot and I think it’s going to work out very well.” That said, he urged caution, adding that “there’s a good chance it won’t work out” and that “there’s probably an even better chance it will take a period of time.”
President Trump also noted that; “I think the minimum would be relationship. You would start at least a dialogue, because, you know, as a deal person, I have done very well with deals.” Trump’s comments appeared to be part of his of his overall expectations as to the outcome of the meeting with Mr. Kim.
From the standpoint of North Korea, Pyongyang indicated that it may be open to getting rid of its nuclear weapons in exchange of the U.S. security guarantees and other benefits, though some believe it is an unrealistic prospect as nuclear arsenal cements Kim’s grip on the country and deters other nations from an  all-out attacks against the them.
There are four broad scenarios that could play out — each with vastly different and potentially dangerous consequences.
Scenario One: small deal and more talks: The first and most likely scenario is that Trump and Kim could agree to a broad framework for a nuclear deal at the meeting, and then allow their negotiating teams to work out the details over a longer period of time.
Scenario Two: big agreement without denuclearization: the two leaders might agree to major concessions, like North Korea reducing its nuclear arsenal and the U.S. removing troops from South Korea, but ultimately fall short of agreeing to dismantle Pyongyang’s entire nuclear program. That would still be a huge development, and possibly a diplomatic win for both sides.
Scenario Three: no agreement Trump and Kim agree to nothing. That would be an unfortunate outcome, as it would waste an opportunity to solve the nuclear standoff diplomatically — and could continue the previous level of hostilities that have existed for decades.
Scenario Four: North Korea agrees to denuclearize. By far the least likely option, North Korea acquiesces to Trump’s demands and agrees to completely dismantle its nuclear program. There is the likelihood that Trump and Kim agree to something quite dramatic. Here are two possibilities:
– North Korea could agree to freeze or reduce its nuclear arsenal but not completely dismantle its entire weapons program.
– North Korea could agree to allow international inspectors to visit the country frequently to ensure it has stopped improving its nuclear and missile programs.
This wide range of possible outcomes — from unlikely to practical to catastrophic — means the stakes for the summit couldn’t be higher. After all, the reason they are talking is, in part, to avoid a returning to hostilities and the ever possibility of war.
Of course, another outcome of the Summit is the possibility that of the two sides could come up with a peace treaty that would end the Korean War, which is technically still in place since the 1950s, as a result of the 1953 Armistice. This of course, would have to be included in the overall agreement.
I believe the most likely outcome is a mutually agreed-upon outline for how the process moves forward, a sense of realistic timing, and some principles of what elements absolutely need to be included in an agreement from both sides. In practice, this is the start of the deal. Trump and Kim would effectively be creating a road map for future negotiations, while offering up the usual diplomatic boilerplate.
But neither leader will want to leave the summit empty-handed, so they might offer up some form of symbolic concession to kick-start a much longer process. Trump could relax some of the tough sanctions placed on North Korea, and Pyongyang, meanwhile, could begin to destroy its ballistic missiles and the associated development program.
Of course, Trump is firm on the aim and goal of that team is position upon three major outcomes is clear, as previously noted;

  1. The complete denuclearization of North Korea
  2. Verifiable proof of the total removal of all nuclear weapons research and development, nuclear warheads, and ballistic missiles
  3. Irreversible capability of all nuclear warfare programs

Again, that gives our diplomats and negotiators like Mike Pompeo, clear guidance, an opportunity to work from a position of strength. It’s possible that if both sides agree to more specific nuclear details down the line and the beginning of a much grander opportunity for both countries to negotiate an end to the nuclear standoff — and avoid a horrific outcome — both win. We should anticipate, both Trump and Kim would meet again and finalize a more robust deal. Trump want this deal to be leader to leader, man to man. Kim on the other hand has to have some assurances. If Kim feels he can he can trust Trump this could work. Kim realizes if he gives up his nuclear tools of blackmail, his regime and power no longer exists. He is playing a life and death game and he needs security guarantees from Trump or it’s over for Kim.
In the end, subsequently, establishing formal diplomatic ties with Washington, including sending a recognized ambassador to the U.S., would make it seem like a normal country in America’s eyes. The big question, is Kim willing to accept this much changed outcome for his country?
Image: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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Jim Waurishuk is a retired USAF Colonel, serving nearly 30-years as a career senior intelligence and political-military affairs officer and special mission intelligence officer with expertise in strategic intelligence, international strategic studies and policy, and asymmetric warfare. He served as a special mission intelligence officer assigned to multiple Joint Special Operations units and with the CIA’s Asymmetric Warfare Task Force and international and foreign advisory positions. He served as Deputy Director for Intelligence for U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) during the peak years of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Global War on Terrorism.

Waurishuk is a former White House National Security Council staffer and a former Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C. He served as a senior advisor to the Commander U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and served as Vice President of the Special Ops-OPSEC.

Currently, he is the Chairman of the Hillsborough County (FL) Republican Executive Committee and Party and serves on the Executive Board of the Republican Party of Florida.

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