U.S. President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi this week. What do Washington, Pyongyang, Beijing, and others hope to see accomplished at the summit? Three Carnegie experts weigh in.
President Trump believes he is entering the Hanoi summit having achieved a number of milestones in his “historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula.” However, this ignores his failure to advance the core issue of denuclearization.
What are the implications of the upcoming Hanoi summit and the United States’ withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty for nuclear arms control in the Asia-Pacific region?
The overall risk of nuclear use is still very low. However, at least two factors are making that risk greater: growing nuclear competition among the United States, Russia, and China, and the risk of nuclear use by nuclear newcomer states.
Kim’s threat to take a “new path” if the U.S. does not lift sanctions does not mean a return to nuclear and missile tests. Instead, Pyongyang will likely strengthen ties with Beijing, departing from its focus on balancing relations between the United States and China.
The U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty reflects Washington’s long-standing concern that the treaty constrained its ability to counter China’s fast-growing missile forces in the Asia Pacific.
Nuclear relations are a fundamental pillar of U.S., Russian, and Chinese triangular relations, and disagreements over nuclear issues have the potential to spill into other areas of cooperation.
The Trump administration believes attempts by previous administrations at persuasive dialogue and engagement with Beijing were unsuccessful, but the current strategy of publicly admonishing and punishing China has not been effective.
China, Russia, and the United States face the difficult task of maintaining the following aspects of trilateral nonproliferation cooperation: limiting vertical growth of nuclear forces, preventing nuclear proliferation in new countries, and enhancing barriers against terrorists’ use of nuclear weapons.
Though formal diplomatic efforts between the DPRK and China, South Korea, and the United States have resumed, a solution to the North Korea issue remains elusive.