Trump and Kim Nuclear Talks End in Uncertainty
United States President Donald Trump built up expectations for months over his second outing with leader Kim Jong Un, but he left Hanoi early with no deal and no agreed plan for another summit. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiled, shook hands and dined in Hanoi, expressing optimism that their highly personal brand of diplomacy will lead to a deal on the totalitarian state’s nuclear weapons.
“The fact that there was no deal and not even a partial deal, despite the fact that President Trump indicated that a small deal was possible – I think that is a significant disappointment,” said Frank Aum, a former top adviser on North Korea to United States defense secretaries. “Sometimes you have to walk and this was just one of those times,” Trump told reporters. North Korea said it offered to close its Yongbyon nuclear plant in return for a partial easing of sanctions, but Trump, ever the self-styled master negotiator, called for complete denuclearisation in exchange for full sanctions relief.
Earlier, Trump sent a tweet touting North Korea’s “AWESOME” potential if his “friend” Kim agreed to relinquish his weapons.
Vietnam is thriving like few places on earth. North Korea would be the same, and very quickly, if it would denuclearize. The potential is AWESOME, a great opportunity, like almost none other in history, for my friend Kim Jong Un. We will know fairly soon – Very Interesting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 27, 2019
The summit followed Trump and Kim’s historic first meeting in June in Singapore. But it seemed that they appeared to struggle over the meaning of denuclearisation, with North Korea seeking a broader end to weapons in the peninsula.
History in the making
Seeking a big foreign policy win to push back against domestic troubles, Trump believes he can make history with North Korea. His goal is to persuade Kim to dismantle his nuclear weapons and resolve a stand-off with the deeply isolated state that has bedevilled United States leaders since the end of the Korean war in 1953. To lure Kim into radical change, Trump is believed to be considering offering a formal peace declaration, though perhaps not a formal treaty to draw a line under the technically still unfinished war.
At the same time, Washington faces mounting pressure to extract significant concessions from Kim, who has so far shown little desire to ditch his nuclear capability. Washington and Pyongyang disagree even on what denuclearisation means precisely. And while North Korea has now gone more than a year without conducting missile and nuclear tests, it has done nothing to roll back the weapons already built.
With North Korea then busily testing missiles and conducting underground nuclear tests, analysts feared the duo were egging each other on towards a catastrophic confrontation. Now, Trump talks of “love” and claims that his ground-breaking policies defused the threat posed by Kim.
Washington would ideally like Kim to dismantle a key nuclear facility at Yongbyon, allow in international inspectors, or even hand over a list of all his nuclear assets – something the North Koreans have categorically refused to do. In return, Trump is believed to be considering dangling relief from tough international sanctions. Opening diplomatic liaison offices is another possible US concession.
Source: AFP RelaxNews
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