Spill the tea.
As most love stories go, the sparkling happiness that defines the beginning of a relationship gives way to reality. Suddenly, the “love letters” stop and compromise doesn’t seem easy anymore. US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un seemed to have learnt this. They arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam on 28 February with high hopes, and left with the sobering realisation that their expectations did not line up. The summit ended early with no deal, agreement or declaration between the two countries.
Trump met Kim with a grand bargain, demanding North Korea to completely give up their nuclear arsenal (including weapons, materials and facilities) in exchange for an end to America-led sanctions that have been crippling North Korea’s economy. However, Kim had a different idea. He was willing to dismantle the Yongbyon complex (North Korea’s major nuclear facility), in return for the end of the 2016 American sanctions. Unfortunately, neither plan went through and both parties left without what they wanted.
Although Kim reaffirmed that North Korea will not resume weapons testing and the United States will not hold large scale military exercises with South Korea, this message is similar to what was said after the 2018 North Korea–United States Singapore Summit.
What does this mean for Krump shippers?
It was the lack of progress made since the previous summit that pushed Trump to call for the second meeting. Now, it doesn’t seem like a third summit between the two leaders will happen anytime soon. On the bright side, there is enough political will for officials on both sides to continue with negotiations and explore avenues for compromise. When asked by the media, both sides appeared receptive to an eventual US liaison office in Pyongyang. However, Kim believes that there currently isn’t enough trust between the US and North Korea for everything to be given up at once.