Former United States governments used the military alliance that South Korea relies on as security for securing American interests in trade and other negotiations, but they did so in cautious negotiations, South Korean officials said. Mr. Trump has made much of this process public.
"Trump does not separate security from trade, they are all part of his card game, while Moon saw them as separate issues," said Shim Sang-ryul, professor of international trade at Kwangwoon University in Seoul.
But Mr. Trump 's decision to link trade. Negotiations with South Korea over a breakthrough in the denuclearization of North Korea show a growing unease in Washington. Washington fears that Seoul may drift off of its alliance and move closer to Beijing, while Trump believes that his approach to North Korea has been undermined in recent weeks by a series of diplomatic initiatives by Mr. Kim, especially at his meeting with China's president this week , Xi Jinping, analysts. (On Thursday, North Korea released an English-language version of a travel documentary.)
When Mr. Kim sought talks this year, after the Regional tensions with a number of nuclear weapons and ICBMs had been tested, US officials argued that he had done so because of Mr Trump's pressure, including the threat of sanctions.
But analysts say that Mr. Kim had already planned to hold talks last year to bring a "state nuclear force" to a close. Analysts say his goal is to start negotiations with Washington with a much stronger hand than his father and his predecessor Kim Jong-il in the 1990s and 2000s.
Also, Mr. Kim's decision to travel to Beijing ahead of his planned summit meeting with the South Korean and US presidents to meet with Mr. Xi was a brilliant maneuver, analysts said.  Continue reading the main story
In choosing Beijing as leader for his first overseas trip, Mr. Kim once again committed himself to the traditional – but very tattered – communist alliance with China. At the same time, Kim's visit helped China reaffirm its role in North Korea's denuclearization diplomacy, a process dominated by South Korea and the United States in recent months. As China's role in the Korean Peninsula grows, it strengthens North Korea's influence in talks and also helps China in a trade war with the US, said Professor Shim.
Kim's meeting with Mr. Xi has already complicated Mr. Trump's calculations.
China's state-run news media reported that Kim Kim had called for "graduated, synchronized" steps to denuclearize his country – the same approach the North used in previous negotiations with Washington. In these talks, the North said it would only make gradual steps to abandon its nuclear program, starting with a freeze, and demanded that the United States offer simultaneous incentives. These last discussions eventually collapsed when Washington and Pyongyang accused each other of denying agreements
. Kim's call for a step-by-step approach has provoked the possibility of lengthy and uncertain negotiations and tarnished hopes for the so-called Libyan model of rapid dismantling that Trump and his new election for National Security Advisor John R. Bolton favor.
A key issue for Mr. Trump is that South Korea argues with China that the Libyan model is unrealistic, and defends a step-by-step "action-for-action" approach to denuclearization. When Mr. Xi's envoy Yang Jiechi visited Seoul this week, South Korea and China agreed to work together for a peaceful solution to the North Korean crisis. On Friday, a senior adviser to Mr. Moon told reporters that the North's nuclear weapons program, which has developed over the last 25 years, can not be dismantled "like turning off your TV by unplugging the power cord."  Lee Jong-seok, a former South Korean reunification minister, said, "The key will be to get North Korea to some early, concrete steps – such as measures regarding its nuclear test site or its ICBM production facilities – that would help to convince the Americans that denuclearization is sincere. "
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