One big incentive that the United States may offer to North Korea during the upcoming summit is the possibility of opening an American Embassy in Pyongyang, the first time the US would have ever had such an embassy post.
The summit, during which President Trump and Kim Jong-un will meet, is set for either May or early June. With officials insisting they won’t give North Korea anything without permanent denuclearization, officials are scrambling to find something they can offer as a confidence-building measure in the talks.
Having an embassy, and by extension having formal diplomatic ties, would be a big upgrade in US relations with North Korea. South Korean officials say such a move would happen if the summit is seen as a success.
It would be a “partial normalization,” which would allow the US to present it as something short of a full upgrade, and yet would offer the North Korean government a working-level contact with the United States on matters of diplomacy.
The lack of formal diplomatic ties has greatly complicated diplomatic exchanges with North Korea in recent weeks, with much happening in unofficial talks through the New York office, dealing with North Korean diplomats to the United Nations.