September 18, 2019
September 18, 2019
Ask a North Korean: what did you think of the Hanoi summit?
Ask a North Korean: what did you think of the Hanoi summit?
"As much as I hate to see Kim portrayed as a normal leader, I don't want this to be the end"
March 6th, 2019

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Today’s question: What did you think of last week’s summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump in Hanoi?

Although last year’s Singapore summit was rather unproductive, I was very excited seeing Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump shaking hands and talking to each other in last June.

I could not believe that probably the two most unpredictable leaders in the world had managed to keep their word and had met in Singapore.

I did not have high expectations for the Hanoi summit: I did not expect that there would be any breakthrough, since I strongly doubt that North Korea will ever denuclearize.

But because Kim Jong Un had travelled all the way to Hanoi, Vietnam, I forced myself to hope that Kim would prove me and many other people wrong about his strong stance on nuclear weapons.

My hope is now shattered. I really wished that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was right when he briefly mentioned the possibility of unthinkable change in the Korean peninsula thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Unfortunately, however, this summit was quite the contrary: on Hanoi, Kim proved that he is not ready to give up his nuclear weapons.

I am not sure how to see this summit.

On the one hand, I think Mr. Trump made the right decision to walk away from a bad deal.

On the other hand, I am surprised how ill-prepared he seemed for the summit. He and his top foreign policy officials should have known better before debuting Kim to the international community.

North Korea is holding a parliamentary election in less than two weeks. The Hanoi summit will be used as a propaganda tool to reinforce people’s loyalty to the regime.

Mr. Trump calling the dictator a “great leader” could be broadcast over and over again in North Korea, emphasizing how respected leader Kim is around the world. Its social and political effects on people are much greater than Americans think.

I would like to know what Mr. Trump was thinking when he denied American reporters access to the dinner in front of the dictator, while North Korean reporters were allowed. North Korean reporters are not allowed to ask questions unless they are told otherwise in advance.

Mr. Trump and the American reporters live in a country where freedom of press is protected by the constitution. Did Mr. Trump have any idea how his actions might be understood by the dictator and his reporters? Did he want to show off his power in front of Kim Jong Un?

As much as I hate to see Kim Jong Un portrayed as a normal leader, I do not want this summit to be the end of dialogue. I hope they continue to talk and reach a good agreement while maximum sanctions remain on North Korea — even if it takes time.

Edited by Oliver Hotham

Featured image: KCNA, edited by NK News 

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