Vietnam is ready to host the bilateral summit between the United States and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) later this week.
US President Donald Trump and DPRK Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un will meet in person for the second time to discuss North Korea’s “complete denuclearisation”.
News18 reports that local businesses and vendors in Hanoi are selling merchandise and souvenirs for the summit.
What will Trump and Kim discuss?
The two leaders are expected to address how North Korea will commit to a full denuclearisation.
In his speech from the Rose Garden on February 15, Trump mentioned this bilateral summit and addressed the issue of denuclearisation.
“I’m in no rush for speed. We just don’t want testing. The sanctions, as you know, remain. Everything is remaining”, he said.
Trump also mentioned that China, Russia, and South Korea have been helping him negotiate with Kim.
Referring to Kim himself, Trump said that although they have a very good working relationship, DPRK has “really taken advantage of the United States. Billions of dollars has been paid to them. And we won’t let that happen.”
NPR reports that after DPRK seemed to halt testing for missiles and nuclear bombs since late 2017, Trump and Kim met in Singapore to discuss DPRK’s weapons programme.
In Singapore, the two leaders discussed a four-point plan that was extremely brief—one sentence per bullet point—and ambiguous in wording. The document said that the two nations would work to establish positive relations, denuclearisation, and a peaceful regime in DPRK.
The National Committee on North Korea, an independent organisation studying DPRK policy, reported that Kim addressed nuclear weapons in his New Year Address.
“We declared at home and abroad that we would neither make and test nuclear weapons any longer nor use and proliferate them, and we have taken various practical measures”, he said.
Kim added that he had no intention “to be obsessed with and keep up the unsavoury past relationship” between DPRK and US.
Although there is no public knowledge of Kim testing missiles since 2017, experts believe that DPRK officials are secretly doing so anyway.
They also believe that unless DPRK allows random, on-ground inspections, no one can be sure of its promises to denuclearise.
Moreover, Kim’s words reflect an expectation of reciprocity.
This means that if DPRK reduces its defence activities then Kim expects the US to repay it by reducing its presence in South Korea.
How will India be impacted
DPRK has always had a strong ally in China as the latter provides the country with fuel and food. China also opposes American presence in East Asia and military exercises between US and South Korea in the Yellow Sea.
However, the US and South Korea share deep, historically positive relations that go as far back as the Cold War. They also share approximately $154.8 billion in trade and South Korea is the 6th largest trading partner of the US.
American presence in South Korea is also a deterrent to military action from DPRK and China. Essentially, American military presence is a line of defence for India against Chinese hegemony in the region.
But, India has a slightly undefined stance on DPRK. For 45 years, the two countries have had embassies in Delhi and Pyongyang, cultural exchange programmes, and technology agreements.
In 2018, reports emerged that a junior Indian foreign minister visited DPRK for “political, regional, economic, educational and cultural cooperation between the two countries.”
The same year, DPRK’s foreign Minister visited Delhi.
When coaxed by former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to close the Indian embassy in Pyongyang, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj declined and said, “some of your friendly countries should remain there so that some channels of communications remain open.”
While India indirectly benefits from American presence in South Korea, it has its own diplomatic ties to North Korea.
However, with no American presence in the region, China might be seek to assert its dominance and create a situation where DPRK is unable to diplomatically support India like it has done in the past.
Rhea Arora is a staff writer at Qrius
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