The United-States President Donald Trump met DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) President Kim Jong Un for a second two-day Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, 27-28 February 2019. The Hanoi Summit is a follow up to the Singapore Summit, 12 June 2018, which was a historic moment in the US/DPRK tensed diplomatic history. The Singapore Summit can be resumed into four points:

1. Both parties commit to establishing strong and lasting US/DPRK diplomatic relations in order to strengthen peace;

2. Both parties will work towards building peace regimes in the Korean Peninsula;

3. Reaffirming the 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula;

4. Both parties will work towards recovering the remains of the dead soldiers during the 1950-1953 Korean War.

Most of the important points, in the first Summit, have nevertheless not been applied by the North-Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Indeed, satellite images show that the rogue state, although it hasn’t done further nuclear tests and research, has not entered a full and complete denuclearisation process. Many ramps, launchers and missiles which were hidden have been spotted by satellite pictures. Therefore, the second Summit couldn’t have gone any worse.

North Korean Nuclear Missile launcher base

The second Summit between the two nuclear leaders in Hanoi was cut short by Donald Trump. Indeed, Mr Trump walked away from the signing as Mr Kim demanded a lift on most, if not all, the sanctions imposed on North-Korea by the United States. Kim Jong Un believed that he could come to an agreement where the US would remove all of their sanctions – there are also some sanctions imposed by the United Nations – in return for a partial denuclearisation of North Korea, this was considered unacceptable by the US diplomatic delegation. Mr. Trump concluded that as long as there isn’t a complete denuclearisation of North Korea all sanctions would remain on Pyongyang.

The conclusion of those two Summits is that Mr Trump’s diplomacy, although promising great results, has led to nothing. North Korea will continue its nuclear policy, increasing geopolitical insecurity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Kim Jong Un (left) meeting Donald Trump (right) in Hanoi, Vietnam, 27-28 February 2019

Mr. Trump has a very bad understanding of what makes America great, regarding foreign policy. Ever since the end of the Second World War the United States has followed an interventionist style of diplomacy. This choice has expanded the reach and influence of the United States all around the globe. With the end of the Cold War, and bipolarity, the United States maintained its strategic positions and worked closely with its Western allies. Today, Mr. Trump is confused and believes that its allies – mostly the European Union and its members – are the enemy and that his enemies – namely Russia, China and North Korea – are his allies. Through the use of words and acts it can be observed that Donald Trump is quite severe with democratic states and quite tolerant, if not friendly, with authoritarian regimes. The President of the United States believes that Western democratic powers are taking advantage of the US – through NATO and trade agreements – and is convinced that, in the name of “making America great again”, he must terminate all these agreements and build new ones, mostly with authoritarian regimes. In his crosshair there are many diplomatic advances, such as the JCPA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) which is a legally binding international law treaty between the E3/EU+3 and Iran to prevent the latter from trying to acquire nuclear weapons. Indeed, the third point of the preamble stipulates that “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons”. In December 2018, Donald Trump declared that the United States would leave the agreement and impose new sanctions on Iran, weakening the diplomatic alliance between the United States and its allies. Donald Trump, which auto-proclaimed himself “Tariff Man” over Twitter, declared in December 2018 that he would impose new industrial tariffs on the EU.

North Korean military parade presenting nuclear missiles

Donald Trump is not only weakening world stability and security he is also weakening alliances which, in a time of global instability, is key for world peace. If the great powers cannot work together then we are to look to further instability and conflict in the future.

Written by Ambroise Da Silva, student in Politics and International Relations at the University of Manchester.

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