Analysis & Opinions - Politico

Will Trump and Xi ‘Solve’ North Korea?

| Nov. 08, 2017

It would take a miracle. Here’s why.

The centerpiece of President Trump’s conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday will doubtless be North Korea. Before their first meeting in April, Trump’s message to Xi was unmistakable: You solve this problem, or I will, and you won’t like the way I do it. Then, just after he served Xi and his wife chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago, Trump excused himself and went to an adjacent room to announce that the U.S. was launching 59 cruise missiles against Syria. Message: I’m serious.

President Trump has repeatedly complained that his predecessors left him a mess in North Korea, with an emboldened regime in Pyongyang that threatens to soon have a credible capability to hit the United States with a nuclear weapon. “It should have never been given to me,” he told an interviewer in October. “This should have been solved long before I came to office, when it would have been easier to solve. But it was given to me and I get it solved. I solve problems.”

But will President Trump really “solve” North Korea? The answer is most certainly no. Indeed, I am so confident in answering no that I am prepared to bet $100 of my money—against $1 of anyone who wants to wager—that when Trump leaves office, a nuclear-armed North Korea will remain a major challenge for his successor.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Allison, Graham.“Will Trump and Xi ‘Solve’ North Korea?.” Politico, November 8, 2017.