Both Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un tried to paint their meeting at the demilitarized zone as a "surprise" meeting with the apparent goal of generating positive headlines, but it was not truly a surprise.
Trump reportedly asked for a meeting last month in the love letter he addressed to Kim Jong-un and the White House was only waiting for Kim to grant his request.
Trump suggested the DMZ meeting in a letter to the North Korean leader, which was sent to Pyongyang in June by a senior U.S. official, the [Japanese newspaper Asahi] said. The North Korean side agreed to give a “sign” if the meeting were to go ahead, according to the report. [...]
The day before the summit, while in Japan for the G-20 gathering, Trump tweeted about his willingness to cross the border to meet Kim. He said he “put out a feeler” and that he didn’t know where Kim was at the time. Hours later, North Korean diplomat Choe Son Hui called Trump’s tweet “a very interesting suggestion.” According to Asahi, that was the signal to the U.S.’s special envoy to North Korea, Stephen Biegun, to begin preparations for the meeting.
Between the two of them, this meeting was only truly valuable to Kim Jong-un.
Trump did not get anything tangible or substantive out of this meeting because the president of the United States does not need to improve their standing in the world even if the office is currently occupied by a dimwitted reality-show host.
For Kim Jong-un, however, any opportunity to stand on equal ground with the president of the United States -- and appear to hold the upper hand while doing so -- is a public relations coup that places him further out of reach of world powers and future presidential administrations.
For us, Trump is just Trump; he's an aberration at best -- but for the rest of the world he is the president of the United States and what he does represents us.
Why should Russia, China, or any other nation go to great lengths to enforce sanctions on North Korea if Trump is kissing babies with Kim Jong-un? The message sent by Trump's handling of Kim is that nothing matters.