President Donald Trump will depart Washington, D.C., Monday for a historic second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un aimed at securing a denuclearization agreement and path forward from decades of high tension.
Trump will seek to build upon his June 2018 summit with the North Korean leader where the two countries signed a memorandum agreeing in principle to begin a denuclearization process. The summit is scheduled for two days of meetings in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Wednesday and Thursday.
The previous summit’s main achievement was securing a cooling period in tensions between the United States and North Korea, which ratcheted up early in Trump’s presidential term.
White House officials say the president will now seek to secure some sort of concrete commit from the North Korean government to begin a denuclearization process. Trump’s pitch to Kim Jong Un is that by agreeing to denuclearization the young leader can usher in a new extraordinary period of economic prosperity.
North Korea’s economy is currently hampered by some of the most strict international sanctions in the world, hindering its ability to trade in international markets and subjecting the country to an effective blockade from the community of nations.
South Korea, Japan and the United States have emphasized to Kim Jong Un that their strategic location on the Korean peninsula could make them a key trade hub and that advanced Asian economies can provide economic assistance. (RELATED: Here’s What Trump, Kim Jong Un Agreed Upon At Summit)
“I think it can be, really, one of the great — one of the great financial and economic countries anywhere in the world. So, I tell him that,” Trump said, also tweeting hours before departing.
Meeting for breakfast with our Nation’s Governors – then off to Vietnam for a very important Summit with Kim Jong Un. With complete Denuclearization, North Korea will rapidly become an Economic Powerhouse. Without it, just more of the same. Chairman Kim will make a wise decision!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2019
South Korean officials suggested in recent days that Trump may offer Kim Jong Un an official end to the war on the Korean peninsula, which has been in flux since the end of the Korean War in the 1950s.
“We still don’t know exactly what format the end-of-war declaration will take, but there is an ample possibility of North Korea and the United States agreeing to such a declaration,” South Korean spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said Sunday.
The early days of Trump’s term saw repeated intermediate range ballistic missile tests, which significantly increased fears of nuclear war on the Korean peninsula. Tensions increased further after a series of tests exposed North Korea’s conceptual ability to strike the U.S. homeland, and one missile overflew Japanese airspace.
Trump branded Kim Jong Un “rocket man” at the United Nations and issued fiery warnings towards the dictator, saying, “They will be met with fire and the fury like the world has never seen.”
Trump’s relationship with the North Korean leader could not be more different today with the president saying at a recent rally that they “fell in love” at their June 2018 summit. Trump often raves about the letters the two have exchanged since the summit, though analysts have been quick to point out at the absent missile testing little to no denuclearization progress has occurred.
That arrangement appears to be just fine by Trump, who said last week in the Oval Office, “I’m in no rush. There’s no testing. As long as there’s no testing, I’m in no rush. If there’s testing, that’s another deal . . . I hope that very positive things are going to happen.”