In the third summit between the two Korean leaders this year, the venue was unusual. Pyongyang, North Korea, was where the leaders met, marking the first time in more than a decade that a South Korean leader has visited the North.
The main international focus for the talks is the denuclearization of North Korea. North Korea, for its part, has promised to rid itself of nuclear bombs while increasing their production.
While the United States has been pressing for denuclearization, Kim has been pushing for normalization and removal of sanctions. Korea’s drive through the entire process has been toward those two goals. Normalization has been effectively achieved. Kim praised his summit with President Trump today for facilitating the “regional stabilization” which is part of that.
Trump himself was not praised. It was Moon who was being thanked for facilitating it, while Kim was praising the summit. It can be interpreted as Kim praising himself, but it is likely to be interpreted by Trump and his supporters as praise of the President and will further mollify the United States’ leadership as regards North Korea.
Moon was elected by a faction of South Korea that believes the North wants to integrate peacefully and become “westernized”. Kim has made many statements that he is open to such integration and denuclearization, but has not shown any willingness to cede the universal authority that he holds over his country (an authority that President Trump has praised) nor to diminish his nuclear capability.
North Korea is attempting to negate the international view that it is a rogue state, to “normalize” itself. By having high profile talks on equal footing with President Trump, President Moon and the representatives of Japan… all nominal adversaries… North Korea is successfully attaining that goal.