I don't want to talk about what they're saying. This is just an "as I see it" hodgepodge of thoughts.
To begin with, it's widely known that Kim Jong-Un attended school in Europe. It's widely reported that one of the ways the people are repressed is by ensuring they don't know how badly they have it. The people are told they live in a near paradise. Unlike the vast majority of his subjects, he knows that's a lie; he knows the kingdom is a wreck and he knows he presides over a human rights disaster. It's also widely reported he really likes much about the US and western cultures. He loves NBA basketball - hence the peculiar role of Dennis Rodman in the story. He loves American action movies.
Someone in the White House, or somewhere else along the line of involved people, got the idea to make a movie trailer to show Kim as the summit opened. It's an unabashed attempt to show Kim that if he plays nice, he can have personal longevity, wealth, and be recognized as world leader. It's full of scenes that seem to have been chosen because someone thought he'd like them. Perhaps you've seen a clip. That's all I had seen until doing some research here online. Here is the full, HD version of the video.
Blogger LL over at Virtual Mirage (you are reading him, right?) had some important insights into the chances of getting something through even with a signed document from the summit. The North Korean economy, such as it is, is largely involved in their military and weapons research.
As I said in a comment there, I had never considered the terms "military industrial complex" and "North Korea" in the same sentence, but having 50% of the economy dependent on the military could conceivably be a big problem. It's important to note, as LL does, that South Korea also spends a large part of its budget on the military.The North Korean economy is a dependent of the armed forces and the arms industry. North Korea has a mostly closed society and economy that supports and sustains a million able-bodied men in uniform from a population that the CIA World Factbook estimates is 25 million. Four percent of the population is on active duty in uniform. In the US and China, people in uniform account for less than a percent of the total population.The military reserves and red guards represent at least 20 percent of the population. Adding in family dependents and connections, we estimate that at least a third, and probably closer to half, of all North Koreans depend on the armed forces and the arms export industry as consumers.The economic ripple effects of supporting the army, the reserves and the red guards affect every sector of economic activity and almost every household. Without the Korean People’s Army, the North Korean economy would collapse. Without an identifiable enemy (the USA), there is scant need for 50% of a nation to be TOTALLY dependent on the military for sustenance.
Millions of livelihoods on both sides of the Military Demarcation Line are tied to maintaining the existing conditions of no war and no peace for the past 65 years. Those conditions are so deeply rooted that change itself has become a threat and a huge challenge.Of the two Koreas, I think the South Koreans could handle workers coming out of the defense sector much easier and an order of magnitude or two faster than the North Koreans.
In the history of the world, as far as I can tell, one constant of societies has been palace intrigue; someone plotting to off the guy in the throne to take it themselves. Isn't there a favorite fantasy TV series about this? Stories are starting to circulate that Kim has replaced "hard liners" in his government with others more open to, if I can reuse the old term from the Reagan era, détente. Depending on how many "hard liners" there are and how well they are hidden in the palace, it's worth asking if Kim can survive. We know he has no reluctance to kill those he considers a threat, extending to their entire family, so his ruthless brutality may work out to be something that raises his chance of survival.
Another "information-free" sound bite (in the sense that you already know it) is that "this is just a first step; step one of hundreds to follow". Among the most important steps are (1) keeping Kim alive - if he's really committed to this, (2) figuring out ways to get the North Korean economy to survive the economic shock. The real problem here is the double burden of not just having an 18th century economy, but having it organized as a communist economy.