• The Financial District


Washington-based Pyongyang watcher Sue-Mi Terry has reduced US President Donald Trump’s summits with North Korean President Kim Jong Un to the former’s obsession with “great theater” and “publicity” and noted that this aspect has been missed by commentators on John Bolton’s book “The Room Where It Happened.”

In an article for Asia Times on June 20, 2020, Bradley K. Martin said Terry, who is a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), noted that the Singapore summit was a non-starter as there was little preparation for it and no formal agenda. However, Trump was ready to sign a “substantive-free communique” and Kim and Trump practically engaged in ego massaging throughout the so-called summit.

“When leaving the meeting, Kim said he was ‘glad that he and Trump had agreed to follow the ‘action for action’ approach’ and asked if lifting UN sanctions would be next. Trump said he was open to it and wanted to think about it. So Kim left with optimistic expectations,” Martin wrote.

“On US-ROK [Republc of Korea] joint military exercises, Trump repeatedly complained about how expensive and provocative they are; he saw them as waste of $. So when Kim said he wanted the US to reduce or eliminate exercises, Trump said he would override the generals and do so,” to the consternation of then White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Bolton—who were sitting right there!” the story stressed. Trump just gave in to Kim without consulting or notifying anyone. Later on, Bolton notes Trump was ‘off riffing that he didn’t understand why we had fought the Korean War and why we still had so many troops on the Peninsula, not to mention those war games.’