World Asia 28 Feb 2019 Kim offered awesome ...

Kim offered awesome future

AFP
Published Feb 28, 2019, 2:43 am IST
Updated Feb 28, 2019, 2:43 am IST
Trump, Kim to hold 10-minute meet before 20-minute session without aides.
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un before a meeting in Hanoi on Wednesday. (Photo: AFP)
 US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un before a meeting in Hanoi on Wednesday. (Photo: AFP)

Hanoi: US President Donald Trump touted North Korea’s ‘AWESOME’ future if his ‘friend’ Kim Jong Un, whom he was to meet for a high-stakes dinner later on Wednesday, agrees to give up his nuclear arsenal.

Trump's upbeat message came in a tweet hours before a second summit in Hanoi to build on the pair's first meeting in Singapore in June.

 

Trump, seeking a big foreign policy win to push back against domestic troubles, believes his unique brand of personal diplomacy and business acumen can make history.

His goal is to persuade Kim to dismantle his nuclear weapons and resolve a stand-off with the totalitarian state that has bedevilled US leaders since the end of the Korean war in 1953.

To lure Kim into radical change, Trump is believed to be considering offering a formal peace declaration – though not a treaty – to draw a line under the technically still unfinished war. But Washington faces mounting pressure to extract significant concessions from Kim, who has so far shown little desire to ditch the nuclear capability.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday the Hanoi meeting could be ‘an important step towards advancing the denuclearisation’ of the Korean peninsula.

While the Singapore summit ended with a statement promising to work “towards” denuclearisation, Washington and Pyongyang disagree on what that even means.

And while North Korea has now gone more than a year without conducting missile and nuclear tests, it has done nothing to roll back the weapons already built.

Trump, a former real estate tycoon who often boasts of being one of the world's best negotiators, is pitching a vision of North Korea as a new Asian economic tiger if it surrenders its nuclear status.

He said the country could one day emulate Vietnam – a communist state once locked in devastating conflict with the United States, but now a thriving trade partner.

And he has invested himself personally in the relationship with Kim, creating the diplomatic equivalent of a Hollywood odd-couple bromance.

Before Singapore, they were slinging bizarre insults – Trump calling Kim “rocket man” and Kim calling him a “dotard.” With North Korea then busily testing missiles and conducting underground nuclear tests, analysts feared the duo were egging each other on towards a catastrophic confrontation.

Now, Trump talks of ‘love’ and claims that his ground-breaking policies defused the threat posed by Kim.

The Hanoi summit is more elaborate than the Singapore occasion. The White House said Trump and Kim will hold a 10-minute meeting before an approximately 20-minute session without aides, followed by dinner lasting around 90 minutes.

On Thursday they are due to meet again, although no details have been released, adding to the impression that much is being decided at the last minute.

Critics warn Trump is so keen to score a deal with Kim that he could give away too much, too quickly, endangering US allies South Korea and Japan.

Washington would ideally like Kim to dismantle a key nuclear facility at Yongbyon.

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