Donald Trump

Stakes High as World Watches US North Korea Summit

The stakes are high and the world is watching as President Donald Trump meets with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, but experts on U.S.-North Korean relations say even a tiny step forward could be progress.

Sean Kim left South Korea just over two years ago, so as he watches the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un unfold, he knows exactly what most in that country are wishing for: "Almost every South Korean wants peace. It’s very important moment in Korean history."

While many have their eye on the outcome, Wellesley College Professor Kathy Moon is also closely watching the process from denuclearization to human rights.

Moon said it will be progress if Trump and Kim can move past war-time relations, given the countries' past history, arch enemies meeting for the first time in 70 years.

"Control yourself. Because these are two leaders with huge egos and they have thin skin," she said.

Harvard Kennedy School Professor John Parks said it's hard to predict what will happen because the traditional diplomatic process of working incrementally from the bottom up has been turned on its head.

"To have the leaders meeting first and potentially empowering their negotiators going forward, that’s different. These are very bold plans. They are swinging for the fences here," he said.

Moon is also cautioning those who worry that President Trump will be too impulsive or unpredictable.

"Mr. Trump may have many flaws, but he does have some assets which is that he’s willing to try something new," Moon said.

As for Sean Kim, he said he’s feeling more optimistic about a breakthrough than he ever has.

Following the summit, Trump and Kim plan to have lunch with their respective delegations and there could be another meeting between the two leaders in the afternoon.

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