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FM Soini: Kim-Trump summit could kick-start negotiations, "could go dramatically wrong"

Finland's Foreign Minister Timo Soini set a low bar for the success of the summit between North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.

Donald Trump esittelee allekirjoittamaansa asiakirjaa Singaporessa.
Donald Trump clutching an agreement he signed in Singapore. Image: Kevin Lim / EPA

Timo Soini told Yle's morning television show on Tuesday that he regards the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump as a positive development.

On the agenda is denuclearisation, but expectations are low for any practical solutions in that area. While North Korea regards the term to mean the removal of US ability to target its territory, the American side has taken it to mean the end of North Korea's nuclear programme.

Soini said that he would regard the summit as a success if the leaders managed to agree a further meeting, and the start of a negotiation process.

"If we get into a negotiation process and agree an agenda, then that's already quite a lot," said Soini. "This situation has become inflamed and also dangerous. Everything is still possible. Things could go dramatically wrong."

Bilateral deal

Soini says the summit can be regarded as a success if Trump and Kim can both smile and tell their own version of events. He suggested that the leaders' accounts of their discussions might not match up.

"Both will emphasise their own things," said Soini. "Of course it's a big question what this means, as in will there be a bilateral deal and what that would mean in the region."

Soini emphasised that the Trump-Kim summit is unprecedented and uncertainty could mean that the situation changes rapidly.

Feathers in their caps

According to the foreign minister, the summit has become a spectacle observed by the whole world. Just making the meeting happen is, according to Soini, a feather in both leaders' caps.

"The world needs good news," said Soini. "If this provides it, then sure it's a feather in both their caps."

Soini said that Kim's appalling human rights record should not be forgotten for a moment, nor the regime he represents.

In March, the Finnish Foreign Ministry facilitated secretive talks between North Korean and US officials near Helsinki.

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