Just the Facts

Five Facts on the Hanoi Summit

By Emma Petasis
February 25, 2019 | Blog

On February 27 and February 28, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un will meet in Hanoi, Vietnam to continue high-level negotiations designed to bring about the denuclearization of North Korea and improve relations between North Korea and the rest of the international community. Here are five facts on the Hanoi Summit.

The Hanoi Summit will be the second meeting between the two leaders

On June 12, 2018 President Trump and Korean Leader Kim met for the first time at the Capella Hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa Island. It was the first time that a North Korean leader had met with a sitting United States president.  Following the summit, the two leaders released a joint statementoutlining several major goals for the two countries moving forward. These included Kim reaffirming his willingness to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, mutual intent to establish diplomatic relations, and scaling back “war games” on the Korean Peninsula.  Nevertheless, last month, in his congressional testimony Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the intelligence community assesses “that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capability because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival.”

The exact location of the summit has not been confirmed

While it is certain that the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un will take place in Hanoi, the media has been unable to confirm the exact location. It is expected that the meeting will take place either in Hanoi’s Government Guesthouse, located in the city’s center, or the Metropole Hotel, a five-star hotel located nearby. Vietnamese soldiers have been spotted sweeping the area outside both locations with metal detectors and checking potted plants for potential explosives. In addition, soldiers were also spotted installing radio devices and equipment under camouflaged webbing on nearby rooftops. 

The primary focus of the summit will be on the denuclearization of North Korea

While talks are fluid and ongoing, it has been reported that during their meetings Trump will press Kim to take the first permanent steps towards North Korean denuclearization. The United States will likely ask North Korean officials to commit to freezing their nuclear weapons and missile programs while both sides continue to engage in far-reaching talks designed to bring about permanent denuclearization and the end of punitive sanctions currently crippling North Korea’s economy.

It has been reported that the summit could bring about the formal end of the Korean War

According to Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, it is possible that the U.S. and North Korea could agree to formally end the Korean War, which has technically been ongoing since 1950. While it is still unclear what format an end-of-war declaration would look like, Kim Eui-Kyeom has indicated that “there is an ample possibility of North Korea and the United States agreeing to such a declaration.”

A group of eight Democratic senators sent a letter to Trump urging him to “execute a serious diplomatic plan” when meeting with the North Korean leader

The letter, which was signed by several high-ranking members of the Democratic caucus, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) and Minority Whip Dick Durbin (IL) affirmed their preference for diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, stating: “As strong advocates for a diplomatic pathway to resolve the North Korea threat, we still believe there is a path forward for tough and principled diplomacy to secure, monitor, and verify the denuclearization of North Korea.” However, the group also criticized the president for a lack of results from his first summit with Kim Jong-un, arguing that the meeting granted “legitimacy and acceptance on the global stage” to the “leader of perhaps the world’s most repressive regime.”

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