Here’s hoping Trump-Kim summit can deliver the goods

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) - It has been confirmed a second summit between United States President Donald Trump and North Korea's top leader Kim Jong-un will take place on Feb 27-28 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Congratulations to both parties for taking another step toward ending one of the world’s most dangerous standoffs and the ultimate goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

If the pending summit does end up sustaining the reportedly productive momentum of the preparatory negotiations, it will be remembered for laying solid groundwork for the critical next steps needed for the denuclearization process. 

There appears to be a real need on both sides for the negotiations to move forward in order for such engagement to continue making sense. Which is no doubt why the two parties seem to be diligently working together to present something truly deliverable. 

Trump, though he tends to on most things, sounds very optimistic about the upcoming meeting. “North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong-un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse … a different kind of Rocket — an Economic one!” he tweeted. The change-of-tone twist on an earlier tongue-in-cheek remark suggesting the two sides are at least talking cordially and respectfully to one another.

But while the DPRK economy may indeed take off, it is unlikely to do so without a complete thaw in US-DPRK relations. Only then will Pyongyang be able to concentrate on developing the national economy, without having to worry about external security threats. And such a thaw is unlikely to materialize unless the current state of war is formally put to an end and the shadow of nuclear threats is removed. On these will hinge what Trump and Kim can deliver in Hanoi.

Stephen Biegun, the US special representative for the DPRK, made an important point the other day on his return from “productive” preparatory talks in Pyongyang, “We have some hard work to do with the DPRK between now and then.” Since he reportedly discussed specific disarmament steps that the DPRK could promise at the Vietnam summit and corresponding measures the US would be willing to take, the bargaining on who will do what in return for what seems to be getting down to the necessary nitty-gritty. 

And if the “set of concrete deliverables” for the second summit he reportedly discussed with DPRK officials did include Trump’s readiness to officially conclude the Korean War, then perhaps we should join Trump in being optimistic about the summit, since that would show the White House is indeed committed to transforming US-DPRK ties and building lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. 

So let’s extend our best wishes that the preparatory negotiations are both smooth and productive, and the Hanoi summit proves a success. For peace and stability in the region some concrete outcomes would certainly be most welcome.

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