No us president has agreed to sit down v a North oriental leader – until now.

just by showing up to view Kim Jong Un, Donald trump would offer his murderous empire what it has always craved – the prestige and propaganda coup of a conference of amounts to with the chairman of the joined States.

the is why the talks represent such a huge gamble because that Trump and also will topic him come intense press to supply a significant breakthrough in return towards the us goal that dismantling north Korea’s atom arsenal.

You are watching: First president to visit north korea


AFP/Getty Images/STR/Yuri Gripas
trump accepts offer to accomplish Kim Jong Un

The challenge of the assignment is why Trump’s predecessors balked a breakthrough encounter the President has now i agree to.

because a meeting through the us President is so an useful to the phibìc Koreans, it’s constantly been the American place that it should be reserved for the minute a deal is top top the table – and deliver a significant return.

The White residence is encouraged that the ache inflicted by its “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign has for this reason weakened phibìc Korea the it is desperate to negotiate.

but Trump’s inexperience and also willingness to risk one of his finest cards – the reputation of a presidential visit – is one factor some analysts caution he might be walking into a trap.

The stunning advances on north Korea underline one thing: trumped is not like any type of of his predecessors and also cares tiny for foreign policy orthodoxy.

bill Clinton


before Trump, the closest a sitting us President gained to conference a North korean leader was invoice Clinton, who was considering the opportunity of traveling to Pyongyang come conclude a missile deal late in his presidency in 2000.

The opening emerged after then-Secretary that State Madeleine Albright checked out North Korea and met its climate leader Kim Jong Il.

yet Clinton, unwilling, unlike Trump, to instantly accept before understanding more about what the meeting could achieve, sent Albright on a enlightenment mission.

“President Clinton wisely said ‘I am not going until this is prepared, i am sending out the secretary … the didn’t thrill them,’ ” Albright stated in Brussels on Friday.

Ultimately, after Albright checked out Pyongyang and also as united state diplomats worked to collection up the presidential visit, it became clear that North Korea and the us were too far apart top top the details of the missile pact to justification handing Kim the vast concession that a Clinton visit.

“Really they were stuck on one issue. North Korea was willing to prevent selling missiles and also North Korea was also willing to protect against making missiles. Yet North Korea was no willing to provide up the missiles it had,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a non-proliferation expert at the Middlebury institute of international Studies at Monterey.

“North Korea appeared to be holding back their critical concession so that they can get the big visit, and the Clinton management knew the the visit to be the large deliverable and also they wanted to spend it really carefully,” the said.

George W. Bush


LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/AFP/Getty pictures
The subsequent bush administration, consisting of hawks favor Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and also Vice President prick Cheney scotched efforts by Colin Powell’s State room to monitor up the Clinton diplomacy.

climate the discovery of a phibìc Korean very enriched uranium program, that flouted the spirit of an earlier Clinton administration deal come halt north Korea’s plutonium regimen sent relations ago into the deep freeze.

later on, when bush did engage North Korea it remained in the framework of the six-party talks, including the 2 Koreas, Japan, the US, Russia and also China the was designed especially to ensure that Pyongyang could not usage provocations come secure your goal of direct talks through the US.

Barack Obama

See more: 7 Oblique Exercise For Love Handles At Home, 7 Oblique Exercises To Target Your Love Handles

The next President, Barack Obama, came to power vowing to talk straight to America’s enemies. Eventually he traveled to fulfill Cuba’s president Raul Castro and spoke come Iranian president Hassan Rouhani by phone.

however he concluded it would certainly be dorn to cavern to phibìc Korea’s provocations.

“This is the very same kind of pattern the we saw his father communicate in and his grandfather prior to that,” stated Obama in 2013. “Since ns came into office, the one point I to be clear around was, we’re no going come reward this kind of provocative behavior. Girlfriend don’t obtain to bang her spoon ~ above the table and somehow you acquire your way.”

throughout the Obama administration however there to be a authorize of just just how keen the north Koreans still were to entice prominent united state visitors.

In 2009, Clinton ultimately made it to phibìc Korea because that a visit on a mission to complimentary two imprisoned united state journalists provided by Pyongyang as leverage to entice a significant American come the country.

His poker confront in photos alongside Kim Jong Il was seen as a clear attempt to limit the propaganda worth of his visit.

an additional ex-president, Jimmy Carter, visited in 2010 and returned with an additional jailed American.

Donald Trump

not for the an initial time, trump card has chose to take precisely the the opposite tack come Clinton and Obama – and by accepting the invite he will certainly head ~ above treacherous diplomatic ground if the visit go come off.

The question prior to us now is: will Trump’s boldness it is in rewarded?

Or will certainly he offer away what is just one of Washington’s finest bargaining chips and return residence from his talks with Kim through something less far-reaching than a North korean undertaking to satisfy America’s score – the verifiable dismantling the its nuclear weapons and also intercontinental ballistic missile programs.

His shock move is consistent with his vow to be a disruptive worldwide force and also he is reflecting characteristic bullish confidence that only he have the right to unpick among the world’s many intractable conflicts.

An hopeful view would be the Trump’s fresh thinking and also willingness to provide Pyongyang what it desires so conveniently is precisely the type of unorthodox technique that have the right to shake north Korea diplomacy out of its long torpor.