Trump announces meeting with Kim

US President Donald Trump has announced that he will hold his second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, crediting himself for avoiding a major war on the Korean Peninsula.

Background

The political and diplomatic relations between North Korea and the United States have been historically hostile, developing primarily during the Korean War. In recent years relations have been largely defined by North Korea's nuclear program– six tests of nuclear weapons, its development of long-range missiles capable of striking targets thousands of miles away, and its ongoing threats to strike the United States and South Korea with nuclear weapons and conventional forces. 

The US and the UN have placed tough economic penalties on North Korea. Around 90% of its exports are banned including coal, iron ore, seafood and textiles. There are also caps on the amount of oil it can buy. The US has underlined that there will be no sanctions relief until "complete denuclearisation".

Analysis

President Donald Trump plans to hold a second meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam on February 27-28, the US president announced during his State of the Union address, claiming full credit for avoiding a devastating war.

Trump said much work remained to be done in the push for peace with North Korea, but cited the halt in Pyongyang's nuclear testing and no new missile launches in 15 months as signs of progress. "If I had not been elected president of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea," Mr Trump said in his address.

His relationship with Mr Kim, he noted, "is a good one."

 Trump met Kim Jong -un on 12 June in Singapore in the first summit between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader. Mr Trump has been eager to hold a second summit in spite of a lack of concrete progress in persuading North Korea to give up a nuclear weapons programme that threatens the United States.

 Communist-ruled Vietnam, which has good relations with both the United States and North Korea, had been widely touted as the most likely venue for the meeting. 

Assessment

Our assessment is that is that the claims made by Trump’s administration contradicts from the annual collective assessment made by US Intelligence officials. The intelligence officials have noted that there is very little likelihood for North Korea to give up the nuclear program. It is also likely that Trump administration would like to adopt Russia’s soft approach to North Korea in order to counter China.