There we have it. The date and time for Donald Trump’s meeting with the Kim Jong-un are set.
It was announced when Trump’s newly appointed secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, returned from Pyongyang with three Americans who had been imprisoned in North Korea. The summit – an outbreak of diplomacy after the two countries traded threats last summer – will occur on June 12, in Singapore.
So far, so good. Though we must be sceptical of all apparent progress in relations between the world’s sole superpower and the hermit kingdom, something genuine appears on the horizon.
The North Korean and South Korean leaders have met, sharing a symbolic handshake and making outsized promises of a new era of prosperity and peace.
Since good things cannot exist in isolation, and talk of peace brings talk of prizes. The spectre of the Nobel Committee hovers, like an unwelcome guest, over discussion of a positive future on the Korean peninsula. As if to demonstrate how aberrant our era is, the prospect of Donald Trump becoming a Nobel laureate is semi-seriously brought up in consciously serious conversation.
The man himself has been formally nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, something even his most ardent advocates could only have predicted with an ironic gesture more than a year ago. That said, nomination is just that and nothing more. Even Vladimir Putin – not widely noted for his contribution to peacemaking – has been nominated this year.