In Depth

Trump-Kim Vietnam summit: what to expect from round two

US and North Korean leaders preparing for meeting in Vietnam - but will it bring denuclearisation?

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are getting ready to sit down together for a second round of historic talks at which denuclearisation is expected to be high on the agenda.

The upcoming summit, in Vietnam next Wednesday and Thursday, follows their meeting in Singapore last year, the first of its kind between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader. Back then, Trump claimed to have procured a promise of “a total denuclearisation of North Korea”, according to Vox.

But the president may need a change of tactics, after that claim turned out to be something of an exaggeration.

Trump has also come under fire for not adequately touching upon North Korea’s human rights record, with some commentators accusing him of “shrugging off” Pyongyang’s atrocities at the first summit, says Voice of America.

So what will happen this time?

What will Trump and Kim talk about?

USA Today reports that the Trump administration will probably “demand that North Korea verify what it has done so far to eliminate its nuclear weapons and provide a list of nuclear sites that it intends to dismantle”, along with a schedule of when it will do so.

The commander of US forces in South Korea, General Robert Adams, said last week that he had seen “little to no verifiable change” in Pyongyang’s military capabilities, reports Al Jazeera.

“Further, North Korea’s conventional and asymmetric military capabilities, along with their continued development of advanced conventional systems, remains unchecked. These capabilities continue to hold the United States, the Republic of Korea and our regional allies at risk,” Adam added.

Yet Trump appears cautious about rocking the boat on the issue, saying on Wednesday that he has “no pressing time schedule” for North Korean denuclearisation.

Instead, North Korea will “probably use the second summit to try to win more concessions from the US” over sanctions that have hurt its economy, predicts USA Today.

Why are the talks in Vietnam?

Vietnam has been picked as the location of the second summit because it “has diplomatic relations with both the US and North Korea”, reports the BBC. And since Vietnam was once an enemy of the US, it “could be used by the US as an example of two countries working together and setting aside their past grievances”.

Both Vietnam and North Korea are also technically communist countries, although they adhere to the ideological framework in very different ways, with the former developing rapidly to become one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.

How is Vietnam preparing?

The Independent reports that a barber in Hanoi is offering customers free haircuts that mimic those of both Trump and Kim, to commemorate the summit.

For Trump, customers “undergo hair-bleaching to mimic the yellow-orange blond seen on the US leader”, while those opting for the Kim “have the sides of their hair buzzed short, with the hair on top kept long and shaped into a square-like shape”.

Barbers aren’t the only Hanoi businesses getting in on the celebrations. Bars in Vietnam’s capital are cashing in on the summit by serving drinks with names including Kim Jong Ale, Peace Negotiation and Rock It, Man.

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