The Business Times

Downside risks remain if Trump-Kim talks end up a mirage

The pair's volatility can't be underestimated even as geopolitical tectonic plates shift.

Published Mon, Feb 25, 2019 · 09:50 PM
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DONALD Trump and Kim Jong-Un are making final preparations for their second summit on Wednesday and Thursday, with the possibility that historic change is in the air. Yet, with significant uncertainty over the outcome of the Vietnam event, it is the North Korean leader, rather than US president, who has so far emerged the bigger winner from the engagement process since the Singapore summit.

To date, Mr Kim has made few concrete concessions to the United States, with Mr Trump touting last week as evidence of his diplomatic success with Pyongyang the recent absence of missile and nuclear testing.

At the same time, the US president has called off joint military exercises between US and South Korean forces, exchanged effusive letters of praise with Mr Kim, held out the prospect of an easing of sanctions on Pyongyang if it does "something meaningful" on denuclearisation, said that he is in no rush to conclude the negotiation process, and already declared that he will meet again with the North Korean leader after Vietnam.

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