Trump Expects US-North Korea Relations to Follow Vietnam
President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un at Second Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by TheInsiderStories

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – United States (US) President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un are both ready to have their second summit, in Hanoi, Vietnam today. Before meeting Kim, Trump is participating to bilateral meeting and trade agreement events with Vietnam officials.

Trump admitted that relationships between America and Vietnam could be an example for North Korea, especially remembering that the US had a history of having war in Vietnam.

“We both felt very good about having this very important summit in Vietnam because you really are an example as to what can happen, with good thinking,” said Trump to Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong at the bilateral meeting.

Other than that, he described seeing buildings going up in the motorcade and noted that Vietnam is thriving. He expects that if North Korea execute the denuclearization, it can have a great potency to grow.

“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!” he tweeted.

US-North Korea summit is running over two days. Trump and Kim will start for dinner and discussions tonight, at 6:30 p.m. local time. Then they will meet again for further discussions tomorrow.

There are some expectations over this second summit. North Korea would give up on its nuclear weapon, while US would lift sanction for North Korea. Besides, they probably would declare an end of Korean war.

The Korean war during 1950-1953 was only paused with ceasefire agreement, and no peace declaration. By all means, technically North Korea and South Korea are still under war, with the US troops standby in South Korea.

Pentagon officials are also hoping the summit will yield an agreement on further returns of US military remains from the Korean War. Early this month the US and South Korea reached a preliminary agreement on keeping nearly 30,000 troops in South Korea.

Korean Peninsula is not just a regional issue. It is also a challenging and pressing issue for allies and partners of US, from European countries to Japan and South Korea. The stakes for Tokyo and Seoul are obvious, given their proximity to Pyongyang and its nuclear arsenal.

The European Union also has a direct interest in the stability of East Asia, if only for economic reasons. Europe’ interest toward North Korea is not only about sanctions, but possible dialogue and potential aid.

Sweden hosted North Korea talks ahead of the this second summit. And France, a nuclear power and permanent member of the United Nation Security Council with the firmest stance among EU members has offered its expertise in the dismantling of North Korea nuclear warheads.

At the same time, Trump’ China strategy, mixing trade negotiations with the ambition to see Beijing play a greater role in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula by exerting more pressure on Pyongyang, is a risky gambit. It opens the way to increased maneuvering space both for China and North Korea, at the expense of US allies’ interests in Asia.

At a different level, tensions between Japan and South Korea offer new potentialities for the North Korean regime and reduce the chance of a separate meeting and negotiations between Tokyo and Pyongyang to solve the abductees issue. The inter-Korean warming can only contribute to the further marginalization of Japan.

This is a real challenge for Tokyo. The current South Korean government has its own agenda on history, as well as on relations with Pyongyang. In spite of past agreements, the latest on the comfort women issue in 2015, are once again being used to cement of the Korean sense of identity in a divided peninsula in a context where Seoul also does not want to be marginalized by negotiations involving Pyongyang, Washington, and Beijing.

However, Japan and South Korea’ superior strategic interests should come first and a better sense of priorities between different issues should be imposed by the leadership of both countries, whose constituencies often remain too inward looking.

All these are essential elements of a possible deal with North Korea. The outcome will be a litmus test to the resilience of US role as security guarantor in Europe and in Asia without putting in jeopardy useful multilateral frameworks. But the test will also be for the capacity of other regional powers to play a productive role and, ultimately, support the future of strategic stability across both regions.

As the Trump-Kim summit held Feb. 27-28 in Hanoi, Vietnam prepared a maximum level of security and accommodation for both leaders. Based on Singapore’ expenditure for hosting the summit, it is estimated that Vietnam would spend US$14.8 million. Even so, Vietnam thinks the summit can attract more tourists to the country.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com

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