An Australian defence analyst has warned President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un should not be left alone in the same room.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Malcolm Davis has cautioned against letting US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meet alone together in the same room.
President Trump has promised to meet the North Korean leader by May after receiving Kim Jong-un's formal invitation from South Korean delegates on Thursday.
Mr Davis told SBS News the idea of President Trump and Kim Jong-un meeting alone made him nervous.
“I shudder to think what Trump might say and how KimJong-un would exploit that. I would advise against that sort of encounter.”
South Korea’s National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong hand-delivered the invitation to the White House where he told reporters Mr Kim had committed to denuclearisation: “Kim pledged that the North would refrain any further nuclear missile tests.”
Mr Chung visited Washington DC to brief the US allies about his recent landmark talks with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang.
Don't get carried away
Mr Davis said North Korea’s leader would never denuclearise without getting “an awful lot” back in return.
“We shouldn’t get carried away with it because the North Koreans will want an awful lot for not giving away much.”
“We’ve been down the path of diplomatic negotiations several times and each time it’s failed primarily because the North Koreans have cheated on every agreement we’ve given them.”
South Korea revealed on Tuesday the North stated there was “no reason” to hold onto its nuclear weapons “if military threats towards the North are cleared and the security of its regime is guaranteed.”
'Playing him like a violin'
Mr Davis warned President Trump must not to be fooled by North Korea’s promises.
“We’ve given them economic aid, concessions, diplomatic recognition in return for them supposedly stopping their nuclear weapons program before. Each time they’ve cheated and kept on going.”
“I suspect and I fear that the North Koreans will say to Trump 'come to Pyongyang' and if he does that then the optics are all wrong.”
He said President Trump will likely claim the invitation from Kim Jong-un is the result of his pressure and sanctions on North Korea and the “North Koreans buckling.”
“But I don’t see it that way, I see it as the North Koreans are playing him like a violin.”
Real risk of a security incident
Mr Davis said President Trump must push North Korea to take steps towards denuclearisation before any meeting takes place.
He suggested China as a better alternative location for a formal meeting than Pyongyang.
“They want recognition as a nuclear weapon state, Kim Jong-un wants that recognition as the leader of a nuclear weapon state.”
He warned a meeting between the two leaders poses real security risks.
“There would be a real risk of an incident occurring with the entourage and that’s something the Americans will have to be very careful about.”
Inspections underpin deal
The defence analyst doubted Kim Jong-un would agree to inspectors searching North Korea for evidence of nuclear weapons.
Mr Davis said ‘intrusive’ inspections were needed to make a denuclearisation deal possible.
“At the end of the day what we will have is an uncertain situation unless the North Koreans are willing to accept that intrusive and verification of monitoring processes.”
He said there is pressure on President Trump to deliver a solution with the North Koreans given the acceleration of North Korea’s missile and nuclear developments.
‘‘They may see him as a weak president or an embattled president that they can manipulate in a negotiation situation and gain concessions from, because he’ll be desperate for a win.”