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A Nobel in the offing for Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un?

  • Published at 01:39 am June 13th, 2018
REFILE - ADDING RESTRICTIONS  U.S. President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Kevin Lim/The Straits Times via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY          FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
File photo: US President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018 Reuters

Could their historic Singapore summit earn Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un a Nobel Peace Prize?

Maybe, but it’s still early days, say experts.

Some commentators and politicians have suggested the pair be awarded a Nobel for their efforts.

But experts say the prestigious prize -- at least for now -- may remain elusive for the duo.

Timing and personalities count against both leaders, they say.

Trump has given a seismic shock to international diplomacy by, among other things, pulling the US out of a landmark nuclear deal with Iran, while Kim is guilty of numerous human rights violations. 

And then there is the question of whether their process bears fruit. The diplomacy of disarmament is invariably risk-laden, complex and long.

“It’s too early,” Asle Sveen, a historian who specializes in the Nobel prize, said of the prospects for a Kim-Trump award.

“But if (the agreement) were to lead to real disarmament on the Korean peninsula, it would be very difficult to not award them the prize. It would be a bizarre situation, but that’s happened in the past, that people with a pretty violent past have received the Nobel Peace Prize,” he said.

Even before the Singapore summit, several people, including South Korean President Moon Jae-in, former US president Jimmy Carter and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, suggested Trump could deserve the Nobel.

One fake Nobel Peace Prize nomination for Trump has already been invalidated after a case of identity fraud was uncovered earlier this year. But 18 Republicans have nominated him for 2019 in recognition of “his tireless work to bring peace to our world.”

Ten years after it awarded the Peace Prize to the newly-elected Barack Obama in a move that was widely mocked as being premature, the Nobel committee does not want to repeat past mistakes.

And in 2000, the Nobel was awarded to then South Korean president Kim Dae-jung for his reconciliation efforts with the North, which turned out to be little more than “a public relations campaign,” said Henrik Urdal, the head of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (Prio). 

“I think they’ll probably wait to see some pretty significant results before giving another prize in that direction,” Urdal said.

“Today’s agreement is a good first step but the journey is long and complicated. Other things President Trump has done -- most notably withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, which is crucial for global security, and destabilising the Iran nuclear deal, which is crucial for Middle East regional stability -- are much less positive for peace.”