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Where to Hold the Kim-Trump Summit?

Plans for a Trump-Kim summit continue apace. But one critical issue remains unresolved. Where will the two leaders meet?

Guesses include the Korean peninsula, China, and U.S. Pacific possessions, but sources claim none of these are on the final list. Europe supposedly accounts for six possibilities, led by Geneva. Mongolia, Thailand, and Trump North KoreaSingapore allegedly also are being considered. All have serious downsides, however.

Instead of focusing on predictable venues, the North’s Supreme Leader and America’s president should think creatively. Choose the right locale and everything else should fall into place.

For instance, there is Tokyo Disneyland. It properly mirrors the otherworldly aspects of a meeting between the Donald, America’s most unusual president, and the 34-year-old Supreme Leader of one of the strangest states on earth, one which should be preserved as a national theme park. Moreover, Kim’s older half-brother’s attempt to visit using a forged passport helped knock the latter out of the race to succeed their father.

Another option would be Xian, in China’s Shanxi Province. This city is distinguished by the famed terracotta army, created by Emperor Qin Shi Huang for protection in the afterlife. The soldiers would provide President Trump with a royal welcome. In contrast, Supreme Leader Kim can imagine that the assembled army will come to his defense if Washington violates its pacific promises.

Matamata, New Zealand would be a nice location. With more sheep than people, New Zealand would take the contending leaders away from the hurly-burly of urban life. The two leaders could set up camp in the mountains where Lord of the Rings filmed the bucolic scenes involving the Shire in Middle-Earth. Both Trump and Kim could imagine themselves battling great evil and banishing dangerous threats from their respective homelands.

Monaco should be considered. The European microstate is a playground for the rich and not so famous. It would be a perfect destination for both leaders if their futures prove difficult. Can Kim retain control of his bizarrely ideological system if negotiation leads to greater openness to the West? Where might Trump go if he does get indicted? The two leaders could treat the summit as a scouting expedition.

Moscow also would be a good fit. President Trump could make such a trip a twofer, seeing Russian President Vladimir Putin as well. And a sojourn in Russia’s capital would remind Kim that he doesn’t have many options for asylum, if the result of acquiescence or submission to Washington’s demands leads to his overthrow. Kim’s wife, the fashion-conscious Ri Sol-ju, might be particularly unhappy with such a home.

For someplace really different the two leaders might consider Damascus. It would offer a powerful reminder on why a peaceful resolution of the Korean conflict is in everyone’s interest. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would lose in any war, but the U.S. and South Korea would scarcely be winners. Moreover, a North Korean collapse could be even worse than a nuclear North: civil war, loose nukes, mass refugee flows, regional chaos.

Still, the Vatican might be a better choice. Although the prospective summit offers an unusual opportunity to end more than seven decades of confrontation on the Korean peninsula, it also could explode spectacularly. If the president leaves feeling betrayed, he might return to his previous warmongering strategy.

Proximity to the Pope would offer the potential for substantial prayer support. Heck, the Holy Father might call together a special meeting of bishops or cardinals to advance the cause of Korean peace. If the gathering helped push the two blustering, obnoxious, threatening leaders together, it might go down in history for its accomplishment.

Finally, why not Honolulu? It would be perfect. Beautiful, comfortable, and midway between the two capitals. Filled with people apparently fearful of being nuked by the DPRK. In truth, that was never likely.

But bringing President Trump to Honolulu might remind him why war would be a stupid idea, even if he imagined it would be only “over there” in Northeast Asia. The sight of such a wonderful city might encourage Kim to think about retirement. Surely the Supreme Leader needs a break.

The prospective summit is a dramatic, unpredictable step that just might fix a problem which appeared to be insoluble. The location of such a meeting should be equally unique. Both President Trump and Supreme Leader Kim have flair for the dramatic. Why shouldn’t their location choice for the summit reflect a little daring?

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire:

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