Trump-Kim 2.0 in Hanoi to reaffirm willingness towards denuclearization, says expert

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MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. The Kim-Trump summit scheduled to take place in Hanoi on February 27-28 is unlikely to result in any breakthrough decisions. However, the parties can reaffirm their determination to move towards the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization, Roman Lobov, an expert at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS), told TASS on Tuesday.

“It is not improbable that the summit will end with the adoption of a declaration, which will once again reiterate their commitment to nuclear disarmament. However, Pyongyang’s and Washington’s views continue to be diametrically opposed, and chances are high that they will agree to disagree,” he said.

The expert outlined the goals, which, in his view, Pyongyang will pursue during the meeting. “They concern the demand to drag on the dialogue over the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, to push back the missile and nuclear disarmament question and to get Washington to take a softer stance on North Korea,” he went on to say. According to Lobov, Pyongyang could destroy its “obsolete infrastructure” for missile and nuclear tests as part of the next stage of denuclearization.

He noted the travel mode chosen by the North Korean leader is symbolic. “One may try to guess for a long time what is behind Kim Jong-un’s decision to travel to Hanoi by train despite the fact that North Korea has every opportunity to arrange a flight from Pyongyang to Hanoi. After all, maintaining security while flying over Chinese and Vietnamese territory is practically a closed deal,” Lobov stressed. “Consequently, Kim Jong-un’s decision to travel by train is a symbolic step meant to show the continuity of the current North Korean leader to his grandfather who paid his first visit to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam by train back in 1958.”

According to Lobov, for Trump a meeting with the DPRK leader will be an important argument in his domestic political standoff with fierce opponents from the Democratic Party. “The success of the meeting will provide him an opportunity to declare that he won yet another foreign policy victory, secured North Korea’s involvement in the dialogue and, unlike his opponents in the Democratic Party, prevented war on the Korean Peninsula. Under the current circumstances, Trump can present the fact that negotiations with North Korea continue as one of his foreign policy accomplishments,” the expert concluded.

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