Now showing: Trump and Kim

History is about to be made on 12 June 2018 at Sentosa Island in Singapore between the leader of the free world and the North Korean supremo.

It's going to be a "win-win" deal according to US President Donald Trump. In all likelihood, North Korean President Kim Jung-on is saying the same thing in Korean.

Trump would be singing that his tighter sanctions on North Korea have forced Kim to the negotiating table. Kim would be bragging how his nuclear threats have spooked the US to talk.

But whatever it is that brought the US and North Korea to talk peace, it's good for them and for the rest of us because easing tensions in the Asian region should - as the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 did - produce a peace dividend that should lift all boats.

However, given the two personalities' unpredictable disposition, there are still many miles to go before declaring the US-North Korea peace summit a fait accompli.

To be sure, Trump himself described this initial powwow as a "getting to know you meeting." Trump and Kim will shake each other's hands and exchange pleasantries while at the same time measuring how hard to push and counter-push.

Good intentions dictate that both leaders would try to find a common ground to ultimately compromise on a deal for the sake of, as many contestants evoke at the Miss Universe beauty pageant, "world peace".

But good intentions don't get you a Nobel Prize (Trump) or alleviate your people's poverty (Kim).

Both Trump and Kim would see the summit in terms of a winner and a loser. Who wins and who loses depends on each leader's motivation to secure a deal in the first place.

Trump - the showman and dealmaker that he is - would want to win for winning's sake. Still, we cannot discount a saner and longer-term objective of short-circuiting China and Russia's influence on North Korea and reducing the threat to its allies in the Asian region - South Korea and Japan, in particular.

On the other hand, Kim would want sanctions removed that would alleviate the North Korean economy's poverty and perhaps with US assistance, progress into an economy that, at the very least, would have the comforts enjoyed of its southern neighbour in the Korean Peninsula.

A win for the US would be a complete de-nuclearisation of North Korea. A win for North Korea would be the lifting of sanctions on the country first and foremost, a guarantee that the US will not invade North Korea and a reduction of US military presence in South Korea.

In name of peace and progress...sure, why not? But the history of US-North Korea negotiations are replete with promises and back downs.

As 'The Economist' magazine printed, "The two sides have been negotiating over the North's nuclear-weapons programme since 1992, when Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of the current despot, Kim Jong Un ... The North has broken many promises to forgo nuclear arms".

As for Trump, he just recently withdrew the Iran nuclear deal made with Obama and more telling is his change of mind to not endorse the Communique agreed upon over the weekend's G7 Summit in Quebec, Canada (just because he felt insulted by Canadian PM Trudeau's post-meeting news conference).

If Trump can't agree to disagree with his allies...

Ben Ong is the Director of Economics and Investments at Rainmaker Group. He previously worked as a fund manager, economist, asset allocation strategist, portfolio analyst and stock market analyst. Check out his economics analysis here.

Read more: North KoreaThe NorthLeaderUS-North KoreaSouth KoreaEconomistBerlin WallCanadaCanadian PM TrudeauCommuniqueG7 SummitHermit KingdomIranJapanKim Il SungKim Jong UnKorean PeninsulaKorea Peace SummitMiss UniverseNobel PrizeNorth Korean President KimNorth KoreasObamaQuebecRussiaSentosa Islandshort-circuiting ChinaSingaporeSupremoUS of AUS President Donald Trump
Link to something SFg40Xpg