WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The maximum pressure campaign against North Korea that U.S. President Donald Trump launched in 2017 worked to bring Kim Jong Un to the negotiating table, a former adviser to the 2016 Trump campaign said Wednesday.
Ed Feulner, founder of The Heritage Foundation, said at the Global Peace Foundation's International Forum on One Korea in Washington, the "significant diplomatic breakthrough" between the United States and North Korea was the direct result of a Trump-led international pressure campaign.
"Who could have imagined the president of the United States and the chairman of [North Korea] could actually meet in a neutral country, third country, and end up in face-to-face discussions, negotiations and hopefully some agreement principles?" Feulner said.
The Singapore summit and what followed has been an opportunity for the United States and South Korea to promote lasting "peace, freedom and reunification of the Korean Peninsula," while keeping a common objective of denuclearization at the top of the agenda.
Trump and Kim "surprised the world by sharing and demonstrating a common personal understanding of what must take place for the transformation in the US-[North Korea] relationship."
Feulner said he met with Trump and his senior advisers after the historic summit. The president has promised better prospects for North Korea on the condition the regime gives up its nuclear weapons in a manner that can be verified.
"The United States will be at the forefront of facilitating that brighter future," Feulner said.
Hyun Jin Preston Moon, chairman of the Global Peace Foundation, expressed skepticism about North Korea's intentions, however.
Speaking at the forum Wednesday, Moon said North Korea was becoming increasingly isolated when a welcome reversal of fortune thrust Kim to the world stage after the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Kim, who was at the center of global condemnation, received an image makeover, thanks to the pro-engagement policy of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a "willing partner" prepared to take "extraordinary steps" to coordinate policy that eventually culminated in the U.S.-North Korea summit.
Kim's father and grandfather dreamed of having bilateral talks with the United States that would give North Korea "international legitimacy especially after the fall of the Soviet Empire," Hyun Jin Preston Moon said.
"Kim Jong Un has turned a potential disaster into a personal triumph," he added.
The Global Peace Foundation is affiliated with the ultimate holding company that owns United Press International.