Thursday, 19 May, 2022
HomeGlobal PulseHow Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un panned out

How Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un panned out

After the failed summit, here’s a look at what this says about North Korea’s demands and its nuclear programme.

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The second Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un summit at Hanoi, Vietnam was abruptly shortened Thursday. Contrary to the usual mundane procedure, the meeting ended without a joint statement.

Going into this meeting, the expectations of a breakthrough were very low. But the summit failed to meet even those expectations.

The only “attractive news” that came out of the summit was Trump’s cryptic announcement about India and Pakistan which seemingly played out later in the day.

As the Trump-Kim meeting failed to meet its objectives, ThePrint tries to decode what this summit tells us about North Korea’s demands and its nuclear programme.

#1: What were US and North Korean positions going into Hanoi?

To put it in a simplistic manner, there was way more clarity about the US position than the North Korean one.

The US had been moderating its demand for complete denuclearisation of the North Korea, said an article in The Diplomat. Trump administration had realised that complete phasing out of North Korea’s nuclear programme is unlikely.

So their key demand was that North Korea should not conduct any more nuclear or ballistic missile tests. In addition to that, they wanted a gradual phasing out of North Korea’s nuclear programme, staring with the ‘complete’ shutdown of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility, reported Washington Post.

On the other side, North Korea’s position was completely unclear. Americans didn’t know what precisely North Korea was seeking in return for closing down Yongbyon. But more importantly, whether they were even offering to ‘completely’ close down the facility – raising questions about what ‘denuclearisation’ means for both sides.

#2: The North Korean demand and the breakdown of Hanoi summit

During the meeting, the American side figured out that North Korea had a single demand.

As was made clear by Trump and Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho’s post-summit press briefings, North Korea was offering a ‘partial’ shutdown of its Yongbyon nuclear facility, and in return it wanted the lifting of the five most recent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions.

These five UNSC sanctions were imposed in 2016-17 and have turned out to be the most crippling for North Korea’s economy.

US wasn’t ready for the demand and this eventually led to the breakdown of the entire summit.

#3: Missed opportunities

As pointed out by The Diplomat, the American delegation failed to grab some low-hanging fruits while trying to achieve a landmark agreement.

It is an objective fact that North Korea has not conducted any nuclear or missile test since the first Trump-Kim summit last year. Korean foreign minister Ri said that North Korean was offering to formalise a moratorium banning testing of “long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear devices”.

The Diplomat argued that US could have used this summit to sign a Partial or possibly a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

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