The second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam capital Hanoi has kindled curiosity on their respective agenda after the Singapore summit of June 2018.   

The Hanoi summit’s agenda is not yet made specific by the officials of the United States and North Korea.

Stephen Biegun, Trump's special envoy for North Korea has said a “dozen” items will be there on the agenda.

President Trump also said he is in no rush to achieve denuclearisation fast. A pause on weapons testing by Pyongyang will be fair enough.

America wants Pyongyang to abdicate all weapons of mass destruction and prepare a roadmap on how it wants to achieve that goal.

Singapore Synergy

Raising hopes, Singapore summit had four commitments--new relations for peace and prosperity; building a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula; the journey towards denuclearisation; and repatriating the remains of soldiers killed in the Korean War.

However, the agreement on denuclearisation was unclear and enhanced the scope of disagreements. It was also short on detail and timelines were vague on the destruction of North Korea's nuclear arsenal. How Trump will pursue that matter in Hanoi is a matter of high strategic interest. 

Trump May Not Force De-Nuclearization

According to an analyst, at the Hanoi summit, Trump will not push North Korea to a corner with deadlines or rough talk.

 “The two sides may discuss denuclearisation but I'm predicting that Trump wants negotiations with North Korea to be a win domestically so he will shy away from concrete dates and expectations when it comes to the nuclear issue,” noted Ben Young, a North Korea analyst.

He said a peace treaty of some sort is a probability as a win-win for both sides.

Although some analysts predict Trump may yield to the demand for pruning the U.S. military presence in South Korea numbering some 30,000 soldiers, Washington is unlikely to compromise on that.

“Patience with North Korea is not a bad option. Pressure on Pyongyang and forcing them into a corner with concrete dates for denuclearisation may make North Korea feel bullied and subservient,” warned Young.

North Korea’s Wish List

This was endorsed by Kab-Woo Ko, a political science professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul as well.

Faced with food shortages and pressure of U.S-led international sanctions over the nuclear programme, North Korea wants some relief from the isolation in global trade.

Meanwhile, the choice of Vietnam as the summit’s venue is also significant. Vietnam enjoys diplomatic relations with both the U.S. and North Korea.

It may be noted that Vietnam and the U.S were once enemies and Hanoi today presents an example of how the two countries are working together harmoniously and moved forward putting aside the past differences.

There are no high expectations on the Hanoi summit that a  deal will emerge and North Korea will renounce its nuclear weapons. But hopes are high that at least a declaration may come as a formal closure to the Korean War.