Who on this planet understands US President Donald Trump? Difficult to say. The maverick chief executive of the world's only superpower, who accepted an offer on the spot in March to hold a face-to-face meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, now says he would abandon plans for the unprecedented summit if he decided that it would not be successful or even "respectfully" walk out of the room if he thought it was no being productive.
Trump said this while addressing a news conference jointly with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, April 18, following the duo's summit in Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
"If I don't think it's a meeting that's going to be fruitful, we won't go. If the meeting when I'm there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting," Reuters quoted Trump as saying.
Trump, however, didn't define what would make the summit a successful one. He also did not say whether he would raise the issue of three Americans held captive in North Korea ahead of the high-profile meeting in either May end or early June.
USA's Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo, who made a confidential visit to North Korea about a fortnight ago as the highest-ranking US official to do so since former secretary of state Madeleine Albright in 2000, reportedly spoke with Pyongyang officials over the captives' issue. Trump also expressed optimism at the press conference saying his administration was "fighting diligently" to get the three American citizens back. Japan, too, is having a similar issue with North Korea as many of its citizens were allegedly abducted by North Korea and Trump assured Abe during the meeting that he also wanted the families of the affected Japanese citizens to reunite at the earliest.
Deliberations were also on over finalising the venue of the Trump-Kim talks and they ranged from the Korean Peninsula to any Southeast Asian country to even European states like Sweden or Switzerland.
However, if Trump backtracks on the talks with North Korea after all the build-up to the summit, then it would not just embarrass his administration but also undermine his own credibility as the president of the most powerful nation on the earth.
The prospects of a Trump-Kim meeting have also led to a series of diplomatic engagements taking place between North Korea and China and North Korea and South Korea and the IUUS and Japan. A sudden withdrawal now could see the situation in the Korean Peninsula crawling back to instability and pose threat to the regional peace and security.