North Korea’s bribery diplomacy
Isaac Stone Fish
“Let the bribery begin,” said Isaac Stone Fish. Now that the Singapore summit is over, Kim Jong Un will undoubtedly seek a high price for his vague promises to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. The canny tyrant will demand not only sanctions relief and international legitimacy from an overeager President Trump, but direct transfers of cash. This is historically how North Korea does diplomacy. Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, successfully extracted bribes in the hundreds of millions of dollars as well as thousands of tons of rice, corn, and chemical fertilizers—all just as a precondition for meeting with South Korean presidents in 2000 and 2007. When South Korea balked at the elder Kim’s demand for $10 billion in aid in 2009, Pyongyang responded by sinking a South Korean military vessel, killing 46 and bringing the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war. Foolishly, Trump is claiming his meeting with Kim ended the North Korean nuclear threat—giving Kim all the leverage in future negotiations. If Kim wants a “cash injection,” he can privately threaten to humiliate Trump with a few ICBM tests. Trump can then either publicly admit he was all wrong about Kim—or pay up.