This piece is unusual in that it is either
going to end up as a fiasco or a scoop. If the latter, then, as they
say ... remember you read it here first.
The possible venues floated by the White House include two European locations: Sweden and Switzerland. But we all know Mr. Kim Jong-un has a chronic phobia of flying, so places not easily accessible by his personal train are unlikely. Train travel to these two European nations would take both unduly long and include journeying through countries not particularly friendly to the PDRK.
Singapore is a successful, dynamic city state
steeped in the capitalist model. A democratically elected government
notwithstanding, officials can be autocratic. It has also had
diplomatic relations with North Korea since the 1970s. But there is one
big problem. To travel by train from North Korea Mr. Kim would have to
go through Malaysia ... the place where his agents killed the playboy
Well, Kazakhstan has a lot going
for it. In the first place, it has extremely good relations with South
Korea, while its government by contrast has its roots in the Soviet
system. Effusive congratulatory messages from its Foreign Minister were
in order recently just prior to the North-South Korean summit.
Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president, invited by Trump for a state visit
in January 2018, volunteered his country's help as a role model for
North Korea -- Kazakhstan, having disposed of its own nuclear weapons
after leaving the Soviet Union, has become an advocate for a
Given Kim Jong-un's penchant for secrecy, it is not surprising there is no mention of Kazakhstan. He would want it that way. The train journey is straight across China where Kim feels safe. And Kazakhstan's relative neutrality means Trump is not giving much away in meeting there ... he will not appear to be a suppliant.
There is one other very big reason why Kazakhstan is the likely venue. John Mappin is said to thinks so, and is probably betting on it. Who is John Mappin? He is the man who was sure as early as 2015 that Donald Trump would win the election. His $3,000 bet spread among different bookmakers earned him almost $110,000.
Who would want to bet against this guy?