In Vladivostok, on cold east Russian shore of western Pacific, I greet President Kim, who traveled almost seven hundred miles in armored train. I hope someday he will have airplane so he can go places rapidly. This afternoon, at our summit meeting, flanked by interpreters, I smile and motion for Kim to please sit down.
After amenities and minor business, he says, “We need Russian investments in our factories and infrastructure.”
“We’d like to help you, President Kim, and under certain circumstances I think we can.”
“I’m sure you can be quite helpful, President Putin, but we can’t give up our nuclear weapons.”
“I understand that would be mission impossible. They’re your only protection against United States.”
“Do you think President Trump will be angry?”
“Will he tighten sanctions?”
“He’ll certainly try to do so.”
“Will you help him?”
“We have to cooperate, or at least pretend to do so.”
“Do you think he’ll attack us?”
“Not in foreseeable future. He’s too invested in personal diplomacy with you. Besides, he’s focusing elsewhere, and after he squanders years on nonnuclear Iran you’ll have deterrent he wouldn’t dare challenge.”
“I hope he’s reelected next year,” Kim says.
“He will be.”