After last June’s Summit meeting (and potentially the most awkward handshake ever caught on camera), The White House have confirmed that a second meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un in February is in the planning. Both world leaders, after being perceived by many in the past as ‘trigger happy’ or ‘loose cannons’ with a questionable choice in barbers, are moving towards a second summit that will bring North Korea closer to denuclearisation.
Last year’s summit was depicted as a ‘landmark’ success in President Trump’s international
relations, the ‘landmark’ success probably being the fact that neither leader engaged in a boasting match at any point about how big their rockets are. However, no clear changes were made to the North Korean nuclear programme after the summit and Trump recently unveiled a revamped US missile defence strategy that singled out the country as an ongoing and ‘extraordinary threat’.
Therefore, you may be asking what did the last summit actually achieve? Other than some great photos of two leaders smiling and pretending they hadn’t accused the other of being senile or mentally incapable months before. Kim Jong Un made a vague commitment to denuclearisation, despite no changes being made to the North Korean missile programme to date. It should be remembered that he was under the microscope of the world’s media and therefore may have feigned an interest in cooperation to create a peaceful demeanour for the papers.
The second summit is allegedly planned to be held in Communist-ruled Vietnam, a middle ground between the two countries where the world will demand more tangible decisions to be made. Trump met with Pyongyang’s top Nuclear negotiator Kim Yong Chol this week to discuss the particulars for the second summit, right after Trump had released his report of North Korean missiles still being an ‘extraordinary threat’. The timing arguably led to a frostier reception for the North Korean envoy, particularly considering that the US trade sanctions against North Korea still stand.
The past wounds the two nations have inflicted against each other unfortunately seem to have been covered by nothing but flimsy, damp plasters. The next summit needs to generate peaceful and beneficial results between America and North Korea. Otherwise there will be little separating the next summit from an episode of Phil and Holly’s This Morning.