As the taxi takes me to the next meeting, the lead story on the local radio station is the horrific death of Otto Warmbier. But I am not in Boston or Washington – I am in Seoul, here for the week at the invitation of the South Korean Foreign Ministry. With a U.S.-South Korean summit between President Trump and newly elected President Moon Jae-in scheduled for the end of June, Mr. Warmbier’s tragic death has added to the sense of uncertainty about how the meeting might go.
Korea watchers worry that the two presidents won’t hit it off. Opinion writers in the local papers point out that Trump is a conservative and Moon a liberal, that the two men have contrasting styles, different histories, and perhaps divergent conceptions about America’s and South Korea’s role on the peninsula.