One Vietnam Summit, Many Vested Interests

Executive Summary

The second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jung-un ended abruptly without any significant progress in hand, while Kim is displaying little intention to commit to CVID (complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement) of its nuclear capabilities. This invokes the past experience of Ukraine where it was promised economic prosperity backed by the US and its allies in exchange for peaceful removal of its nuclear weapons. Two decades later, Ukraine no longer enjoys the peace dividends of that action and are now staged under constant pressure from Russia and its president, Putin.

President Trump’s promise of lasting riches in exchange for CVID resembles the one proposed to Ukraine, and Ukraine’s history is profound for Kim Jong-un who stands to outlive Trump or any other leaders promising him the regime guarantee with economic prosperity. While Kim is embarking on a long-term plan to get the world community to feel comfortable with nuclearized North Korea, his strategy of “divide and conquer” is also emerging through appealing to the individual nations that previously formed the united from against North Korea.

Although North Korean matter is taken in isolation from other global issues, it is believed that the recent North Korea-related situation has ramifications for the current trade war between the US and China, South Korean president Moon’s legacy and even Japan’s growing desire for ending pacifism. Therefore, after the Vietnam summit, it is an opportune time to review the potential impact on several vested parties whose positioning has changed notably for better or worse.

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