The world was watching as President Donald Trump met with Kim Jong-un of North Korea in June, coming away with a joint statement agreeing on four basic principles and committing to continue the negotiation process. There has subsequently been both acclaim and criticism for all aspects of the process, including the preparation that Trump conducted for this historic meeting. We cannot know the degree nor the methods of preparation employed; however, this column is devoted to preparing for a significant negotiation and lessons we may draw from the recent high-profile example.
Determine the objectives on both sides. It is very likely that the president and his key cabinet members had a pretty clear idea of the United States overall objectives for the future of the Korean Peninsula, of which the primary one seems to be complete denuclearization. Of course, this is the long-term objective and was not likely to be agreed upon in the first meeting. Wisely, the president reset expectations in the weeks before the meeting and seemed to settle on the engagement being a getting-to-know-you-plus meeting.