Analysis & Opinions - The Wall Street Journal

10 Tips for Negotiating with Kim Jong Un

| Mar. 27, 2018

Trump needs to do his homework before sitting down with North Korea. Here’s how to get started.

The news that President Trump plans to sit down with Kim Jong Un offers a perfect example of his style: Mr. Trump surprised his world-wide audience, put himself at the center of attention, and took a big risk, probably impulsively. Now the drama has shifted to whether Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim will actually meet. And if so, when and where?

Haphazard diplomacy with North Korea presents a real danger, so someone around Mr. Trump had better be preparing for a complex negotiation. Here are 10 steps to get started:

1. Identify the outcome Mr. Trump wants to achieve. That may seem simple, but consider the range of possibilities. The U.S. could seek progress toward the peaceful unification of a free Korea. Or it could accept the North Korean regime’s existence if Pyongyang gives up nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, plus long-range missiles, while promising not to sell its technology. Mr. Trump could focus on North Korea’s threats or behavior—whether toward the U.S., South Korea, the region or the North Korean people. The U.S. could demand that North Korea return people it has abducted from other countries, especially Japan. The bargaining will take sharp twists and turns. Mr. Trump needs to know how he will frame America’s initial demands and what he wants to achieve over different time frames.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Zoellick, Robert.“10 Tips for Negotiating with Kim Jong Un.” The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2018.