Foreign capitals are moving quickly as well, with the South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers announcing plans to meet with Tillerson in Washington on Friday for more in-depth consultations.
Even as the world reacts, North Korea has maintained silence, not responding to Trump’s announcement last week. US Cabinet officials are moving to calm expectations and urge patience.
The stakes are high if this summit goes awry, analysts say, particularly if North Korea responds by resuming missile or nuclear testing. Indeed, many analysts stressed that Trump himself will be a wild card, both during the summit itself and afterward, should things go wrong.
“The greatest risk to negotiations is not North Korea,” said DJ Peterson, president of Longview Global Advisors, a geopolitics advisory group for businesses and political organizations. “It’s Washington, it’s the White House. You see people like Tillerson already trying to minimize any potential for missteps, miscues, miscommunications.”
“There are significant risks for failure here,” said Peterson.
That risk is compounded by the fact that the circumstances are topsy-turvy. Summit meetings between national leaders usually take place only at the very end of negotiations, after lower-level bureaucrats have hammered out every detail of an agreement and scripted every pause and handshake in their public appearance.