Van Jackson – a former policy adviser to the US defence secretary – has issued the dire assessment as Trump is set to meet Kim for their second summit in Vietnam.
Trump and Kim made history last year when they became the first pairing of US President and North Korean supreme leader to meet face-to-face with their summit in June.
It came after the world was brought terrifyingly close to the brink of nuclear war as the two exchanged barbs, including Trump famous threat of “fire and fury”.
Kim and Trump now seem to be best buds, but Jackson has warned the whole thing is a smokescreen.
The expert – a lecturer in international relations at Victoria University of Wellington and fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies – compared the summit to a reality TV show.
And he warned the next two days of talks will have “no meaningful impact on the core problem of North Korea’s ability to hold US territory at risk of nuclear strike”.
“Trump is doing it backwards – embracing the theatrics without the underlying process”
Jackson – who has penned his new book On The Brink: Trump Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War – warned Trump’s strategy has continued to plunge the world into biggest nuclear crisis since Cuba.
Working for the Pentagon during the Barack Obama presidency, he warned Trump’s approach to North Korea has actually made nuclear war “much more likely”.
Trump has been avidly promoting his progress on North Korea, hailing himself for preventing conflict and sharing many kind words about his new pal Kim.
Critics have alleged the US President actually hasn’t achieved any agreements from the North to give up its nukes despite both sides signing a pledge to “work towards” that goal at their last summit in Singapore.
Jackson said: “Summits are inherently theatrical but when they lead to diplomatic breakthroughs it’s because they consecrate agreements reached behind the scenes before the leaders ever come together.
“Trump is doing it backwards – embracing the theatrics without the underlying process – and the result is that the summit is preventing actual nuclear diplomacy from taking place.
“Eight months after the first Trump-Kim summit, US diplomats have met with North Korean diplomats several times, to do event planning for the next summit, not nuclear negotiations.
“The administration’s Special Envoy for North Korea – Steve Biegun – has admitted that they still don’t know what precisely North Korea wants.”
Jackson warned there is currently no suggestion that the US has reduced the likelihood that North can strike them with nuclear weapons.
And he added there is no suggestion Trump’s strategy has at all reduced Kim’s ability to potentially wage a nuclear war.
It is highly anticipated that Trump and Kim’s great gesture over the next two days will be to officially end of the Korean War after almost 70 years.
No official peace treaty was signed at the end of open fighting in 1953, just an armistice, which means both sides have remained technically at war since 1950.
Jackson said: “Now and for the foreseeable future, North Korea retains all missiles, all mobile launchers, and all nuclear warheads.
“Until diplomacy addresses that reality, the Trump administration is overselling the progress it claims.”
North Korea has not carried out any missile tests since November 28, 2017, which Trump has been hailing as his success.
Kim also demolished a nuclear test site in a heavily publicised gesture to which he invited press from the West.
The ruthless regime – which still sees its people ravaged by poverty and brutal dictatorship – however still retains its missiles that are believed to have range to hit the entirety of the continental US.
Kim and Trump both arrived in Vietnam yesterday, with the dictator making a 70 hour train journey from North Korea.
The US President meanwhile jetted in on Air Force One as they prepare to meet for only the second time ever – despite having regularly exchanged letters between Pyongyang and the White House.
It is expected tonight will see the duo have a one-on-one meet and greet followed by a lavish dinner and plenty of opportunities for photos.
Day two of the summit will see North Korean and US officials attempt to thrash out agreements, with there being large amounts of scepticism if the Kim will concede to demands from Washington.
After his arrival, Trump tweeted: “Just arrived in Vietnam. Thank you to all of the people for the great reception in Hanoi.
“Tremendous crowds, and so much love.”
Meanwhile, Kim received a rockstar reception after leaving his private armoured train at Dang Dong to finish his journey in a limo flanked with a motorcade.
North Korea’s ruler waved to screaming crowds as fans flew flags of all three countries involved in the summit – with the 35-year-old looking increasingly comfortable on the world stage.
And all of this seems like a world away from the nuclear taunts that started Trump and KIm’s relationship, with each threatening the other with total destruction.