Denuclearization of Korea Remains Uncertain

The Story:

President Trump of the United States and Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un of North Korea hold two days of talks about relations between their nations, and nuclear weapons policy, on February 27-28, in Hanoi, Vietnam. This is a follow-up to their summit in Singapore in June 2018.

Background:

The Singapore summit ended with high hopes. The two leaders’ joint statement spoke of a security guarantee for North Korea, the recovery of US soldiers’ remains, and follow-up talks at the cabinet level with an eye to the denuclearization of the peninsula.

Since then, though, those talks have bogged down. On August 23, for example, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he would be traveling to the North’s capital, Pyongyang, the following week to meet with counterparts there. But on August 24, President Trump cancelled Pompeo’s trip, saying “we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” to make the trip worth while.

The Thing to Know:

The US administration has downplayed expectations for the second Trump-Kim summit of late. One administration official, briefing the press anonymously, recently said: “I don’t know if North Korea has made the choice yet to denuclearize.”

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