The world had great expectations for the Trump-Kim summit held in Hanoi. Some believed that North Korea would agree to complete denuclearization at the end of the summit in exchange for economic growth. However, nothing of this sort happened. The summit ended without both countries arriving at any deal. But this doesn’t mean that nothing good came out of it. Trump walked out of Hanoi not only maintaining America’s leverage over North Korea, but also using the opportunity to take a poke at China’s trade violations.
The reason the summit ended without a deal was that Trump was not happy with Kim’s denuclearization offer. “They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that. They were willing to de-nuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that,” Trump said in a statement (The Diplomat).
Basically, Kim offered to denuclearize areas of his choice while refusing to accept demands for denuclearizing certain regions the U.S. wanted. Trump realized that any deal on such an offer would simply give no benefit to his country and decided to walk out of the summit. By doing so, he gave a clear message to Kim that America has a high bar for denuclearization agreements and that North Korea won’t be able to milk Washington through meaningless offers.
Despite the no-deal situation, Trump was upbeat about the outcome of the summit and stated that a proposed document was ready to be signed between the two parties. “I’d much rather do it right than do it fast… We’re in a position to do something very special… I think it’s [North Korea] going to be an economic powerhouse. And it’s something I very much look forward to helping with,” he said in a statement (The Epoch Times).
Trump has pointed to Vietnam’s economic growth as an example for North Korea to follow should Kim Jong-un agree to America’s denuclearization demands. In 2017, the United States put strict trade sanctions on North Korea as it undertook a series of nuclear tests. The Asian nation was deprived of revenues and has been struggling economically ever since.
Move against China
While Trump explained to the press why the summit ended without a deal, he also used the opportunity to bring attention to the fact that almost 93 percent of all supplies that crossed North Korean borders were from China. This was done to put the spotlight on Beijing’s violations of U.S. trade sanctions against North Korea.
“The no-result from the Trump-Kim summit and China’s support of Maduro’s regime would allow the Trump administration to see clearly that dealing with socialist or communist regimes is never going to be a smooth process, as their leaders just do not care about the lives of their citizens and the futures of their countries,” according to The Epoch Times.
Trump may very well use Beijing’s trade with North Korea as a bargaining chip during his trade negotiation with Xi Jinping. Depending upon the outcome of current discussions, both leaders are expected to meet at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach later this month to end the trade war.