National Security

Trump Is Hopeful That His North Korean Summit Will Lead to Denuclearization

But the president also seemed to lower expectations over the weekend while speaking with governors at a key annual meeting

Image Credit: Korea Summit Press Pool/Getty Images & Screenshot, Youtube

Ahead of the two leaders’ summit in Vietnam later this week, President Donald Trump seemed hopeful on Monday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will work toward complete denuclearization.

Trump has wanted the rogue nation to denuclearize since his election to the White House.

What started out as a highly contentious relationship — which threatened nuclear war — has simmered into ongoing talks between the two nations.

Trump’s second summit with Kim Jong-un starts Wednesday.

“Meeting for breakfast with our nation’s governors — then off to Vietnam for a very important summit with Kim Jong-un,” Trump said in a tweet.

“With complete denuclearization, North Korea will rapidly become an economic powerhouse. Without it, just more of the same. Chairman Kim will make a wise decision!”

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Related: Ending North Korean Problem Means Keeping Pressure on Kim Jong-un

Trump and Kim Jong-un first met for a summit in Singapore in June 2018.

The summit marked a historic moment as both leaders signed an agreement to work together toward peace and denuclearization in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. But the agreement lacked any real specifics on how those goals would be achieved.

North Korea also agreed after the summit to return the remains of American military personnel killed in that country during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.

Related: Two Sons of a Veteran Whose Remains Are Home Finally Have Closure

The Vietnam summit is an opportunity to further those talks and create an even more concrete deal.

But the negotiation process is still likely to be tough, and North Korea has had a history of flouting past agreements.

Trump seemed to lower expectations over the weekend while speaking at the Governors’ Ball in the State Dining Room of the White House.

He said he does not want to rush anything and is happy as long as there is no nuclear testing.

North Korea has been pushing the limits on other fronts; intelligence assessments last year found that the regime had increased production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites for months.

Related: Trump and Kim Jong-un Plan to Meet Again

The House Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee held a hearing to review the outcomes in June 2018. The panel of experts expressed concern over the lack of substance but were hopeful it was the first step toward something more substantial — and detailed what it might take to get there.

North Korea poses several problems, its nuclear program chief among them. There are human rights concerns as well as economic issues to address.

North Korea also has a history of ignoring past agreements, such as those formed during the six-party talks.

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