Washington has been abuzz with speculation and concern after this week's announcement of possible talks between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
Max Baucus, a former Montana senator and ambassador to China, warned Friday that Kim is "sly" and "wily," but also "dumb like a fox."
“What does he want? He wants to be on the world stage with the U.S. president, and he now has that. Second, I think he wants to keep his nuclear power, his missile nuclear capability. He's not going to give that up. It gives him leverage and he sees an opening how he can drive a wedge between South Korea and the United States,” Baucus said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-In announced Thursday at the White House that Kim would suspend North Korea's nuclear testing in exchange for the meeting, and Trump agreed.
To Baucus, the ambassador to China from 2014 to 2017 in the Obama administration, the buy-in from Moon was key.
"By working with progressive South Korean President Moon, who is much more progressive and wants to do a deal with North Korea, compared to Moon's predecessor. And after that, Russians are at a very interesting angle here, they're proposing a big pipeline, gas pipeline, after North Korea. And South Korea, something that Kim wants, South Korea wants. He's a very clever man Kim Jong Un and we have to realize that," said Baucus, who also served six terms in the U.S. Senate.
On Friday, Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the talks would only take place if the North Korean take action to denuclearize in advance, causing skeptic to question if the meetings will take place.