Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have both arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, for a second summit filled with spectacle, despite lacking concrete details of what’s to come.
The US president is expected to push North Korea’s regime leader to abandon his nuclear ambitions, while dangling the possibility of the nation becoming one of the world’s “great economic powers” if he were to relinquish his weapons.
The North has refused such demands unless the US would be willing to remove its military forces from South Korea. The disagreement has led to a continuation of severe sanctions against the Kim regime and, at times, tense confrontations between the two leaders.The Associated Press released a statement condemning the White House’s move to exclude reporters from the Trump-Kim dinner. Spokeswoman Lauren Easton said the company “decries such efforts by the White House to restrict access to the president. It is critically important that any president uphold American press freedom standards, not only at home but especially while abroad.”
For all of the optimistic talk in front of the cameras, there is broad concern that Trump, eager for an agreement, would give Kim too much and get too little in return.
Trump could agree to a peace declaration for the Korean War that the North could use to eventually push for the reduction of U.S. troops in South Korea, or sanctions relief that could allow Pyongyang to pursue lucrative economic projects with the South.
A deal like this, skeptics say, would leave in place a significant portion of North Korea’s nuclear-tipped missiles while robbing the United States of its negotiating leverage going forward: If the North has already gotten a good deal of what it wanted, and kept part of its nuclear program, what would be the point of giving up the rest?
Asked if this summit would yield a political declaration to end the Korean War, Trump told reporters: “We’ll see.”