Washington (AFP) – As Donald Trump seeks progress with North Korea at a second summit, the United States has a series of cards it can play including easing sanctions, signing a peace declaration or even pulling troops from South Korea.
After the historic handshake between the US president and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June, Washington policymakers are adamant on the need for tangible concessions by Pyongyang on its nuclear program at the sequel meeting, which Trump says will take place around late February, with Vietnam the most likely venue.
But much depends on the mercurial Trump, who has declared his outreach to the longtime US adversary to be a diplomatic coup and angrily denounced criticism that his first summit was mere symbolism.
North Korea watchers believe that Kim’s primary goal is relief from international sanctions and doubt he will suddenly give up his nuclear arsenal, which his dynastic regime has built for decades even through famine.
The sanctions “are not strong enough to create serious economic problems in the country, but they are strong enough to make economic growth difficult or unachievable,” said Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University in Seoul who studied in Pyongyang.
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