Feb 24, 2019 / 18:12

Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi: A convergence of interests

The Hanoitimes - Former Vietnamese Ambassador to the DPRK Duong Chinh Thuc stressed that interest matching and efforts took the US and DPRK leaders to Singapore (June 2018) and then to Hanoi next week.

Vietnamese former ambassador to DPRK Duong Chinh Thuc
Vietnamese former ambassador to DPRK Duong Chinh Thuc
What are your expectations of this summit? Will there be more feasible and substantial results than the first summit in Singapore?
Since the first summit between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the US, the DPRK - US dialogue has been somewhat interrupted. If the first summit is considered an icebreaker, the second one really is an opportunity for the two sides to assert their positions and principles. The summit is also expected to set specific directions for both sides.
There have been criticisms that the first summit in Singapore was only formal, with no practical results. Therefore, this second summit is required to put out concrete outcomes. If both sides found out that it is difficult to achieve results, the second summit would not be possible.
This upcoming summit shows that they have achieved certain specific agreements through the dialogues. The first one took place when vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee Kim Yong Chol visited the US in mid-January 2019 and met with US President Donald Trump, held talks with US Secretary of State Pompeo.
The second one is US-DPRK talks in Stockhom (Sweden) between DPRK’s Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui and US special envoy for North Korea Steve Biegun. American and DPRK leaders highly appreciated the results of these meetings and expressed their optimism about a good prospect.
Now, the both sides have motivational needs to achieve certain progress. Denuclearization is a long and difficult process, especially in the context that the positions of both sides are too distant, their trust is also very weak so it is difficult to see a major turning point at this second summit. I think that both sides are aware of this fact and do not keep overly high expectations.
It is expected that at this second meeting, the two sides will give something in and suggest a basic implementation roadmap. The DPRK may have some concessions but will persevere with some goals such as asking the US to loosen sanctions, push for signing the declaration of ending war and normalizing relations.
On the US side, there may also be certain concessions but the US will persistently require the DPRK Korea to make a declaration on nuclear weapons and missiles, especially the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), to implement denuclearization according to the principle of CVID (complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement) which emphasizes verification.
It can be said that 2018 was a bright year in the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. How do you assess the role of the US in making this transition?
I agree with the assessment that 2018 was a bright year in the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. I believe that the recent results are due to the efforts of both sides and it is difficult to compare their roles. Although their purposes are different, either the US or the DPRK has needs to open a new era which is more harmonious than the previous one. The matching of the interests and efforts of the two sides took the leaders of both countries to the negotiating table in Singapore (June 2018) and then to Hanoi.
In your opinion , with new developments, what are the expectations of the people on the Korean Penisula?
Being close to not only the DPRK but also to the Koreas, I understand the aspirations of the locals on the Korean Peninsula. Unification of the country is their unchangeable hope but in the short term, they need peace, long-term stability to be able to fully focus on socio-economic development.
Vietnam’s leaders have repeatedly affirmed that Vietnam always supports and is willing to contribute to promoting dialogue and cooperation between DPRK and the other sides with aims to build the sustainable peace foundation in the Korean peninsula. I believe that a bright future will come.
Thank you very much!