Hanoi, Vietnam hosted a summit between North Korea and the United States on Feb. 27–28, at which President Donald Trump met with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un to discuss the denuclearization of North Korea and negotiate lifting U.S. sanctions.
Last June, the two leaders held historic talks in Singapore after a year of exchanging threats and insults. The first summit was hailed as an unprecedented success which led to Trump’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
This year, however, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Feb. 28, “No agreement was reached at this time, but their respective teams look forward to meeting in the future.”
Despite Trump’s statement last year that conflict between the U.S. and North Korea “will soon end,” he said on Thursday, “speed is not that important to me. I very much appreciate no testing of nuclear rockets, missiles, any of it—very much appreciate it.”
The summit concluded in miscommunication and misunderstanding between the two countries, according to NBC News. Trump went into the summit with the intent to completely denuclearize North Korea in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions on North Korea. Kim maintains he was aiming for partial removal of U.S. sanctions of North Korea. Trump claimed Kim was demanding for the complete removal of the sanctions in return for the closing of the Yongbyon nuclear complex, rather than a complete nuclear disarmament.
The U.S.–North Korea summit has become a source of conflict between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats such as Senator Ben Cardin believe conversations with North Korea about denuclearization should stop now.
Cardin told Al Jazeera, “we have now had two summits and we’ve gotten no declaration of their nuclear program or commitment that’s meaningful.”
Republicans stated that they believe conversations with North Korea will benefit the U.S. and American interests in the long run. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, told Al Jazeera, “We are not looking at partial denuclearization. We are looking at complete denuclearization in return for security guarantees and economic assistance so we are not going to relieve sanctions at the beginning. We’ve tried that before.”
Politico reported, “time is not on [Trump’s] side if he still hopes to put a stop to North Korea’s nuclear weapons ambitions after the collapse of his summit with [Kim],” especially with Trump beginning to prepare to run for reelection in 2020. Despite Trump’s growing to-do list, North Korea remains a priority.