President Trump choosing to engage North Korea directly in talks is a highly risky move that strays from decades of US foreign policy strategy with the country, report Steve Holland and Jeff Mason of Reuters. The regime pulled out of past agreements with American leaders. Obama's administration didn’t negotiate with North Korea as it was never seen as being serious about denuclearization. Such talks would have needlessly legitimized its regime. Trump’s decision could turn into a big propaganda victory for Kim Jong-un. The president's confidence in this meeting going well could end with him falling into a North Korean trap.
The US has a long past of legitimizing autocratic regimes when doing so serves its national interests. Even though a summit with North Korea would give the regime the legitimacy that it wants and doesn't merit, this is a worthwhile sacrifice for more solid regional peace, asserts Isaac Stone Fish of The Atlantic. The alternative, increased tensions and potential war, are too terrible to ignore. Direct talks could increase trust between the two nations. Even if they don’t result in North Korean denuclearization, they could buy much-needed time. The regime might also have a vested interest in less aggression, giving a summit significant potential for being productive.