Second summit?

It is reported that a letter from Chairman Kim Jong Un "warmly" invited the US President to a summit meeting. This seems to have been fully verified by the White House and so potentially another meeting is in the works. This announcement comes in the midst of distrust on both sides with the US suggesting that the Pyongyang side are not making adequate steps towards denuclearisation whilst Pyongyang has reported that the US has been blocking their efforts and behaving in a "gangster-like" fashion towards negotiations.

Seeing as how the Singapore summit granted Chairman Kim Jong Un the legitimacy on the world stage he, and his country have been craving - this second summit seems to be slightly pointless, given that a face-to-face meeting with a US President has already been achieved and broad statements made on both sides. However, there are numerous potential reasons for this summit to be a major benefit to Pyongyang and the Korean situation in general. Here are some of those reasons:

1) Tensions are, by historic standards, very low between the DPRK and the global community, however they have once again begun to rise since the Trump-Kim summit as the two sides start to play the blame-game as progress stalls on the (supposed) agreed framework for denuclearisation. The second summit may be a chance for Pyongyang to return to the weeks in June when Trump praised the government in Pyongyang and Chairman Kim Jong Un on a regular basis. It would also help to prevent the US from continuing its blaming of the DPRK for lack of firm details since this time, the meeting was proposed directly by CHairman Kim Jong Un.

2) There is every chance that the officials in Pyongyang have every intention to rid their country of nuclear weapons. However, many analysts agree this would come at a heavy price, and with the high levels of bureaucracy that could be hindering lower-level talks, and the higher level officials see the fastest route to direct appeasement to be appealing to the infamously impulsive President Trump. He proved at the last summit he is willing to make broad promises that benefited the Korean side, as seen in his pause of the wargames staged annually in South Korea. Could a second meeting be a chance to get more promises from Trump in exchange for vague statements and gestures?

3) The President of the US is in unprecedented legal jeopardy. The first president to meet with the Supreme Leader of the DPRK since the nation's inception 70 years ago, there could be fears in the North Korean capital that a future president could take his place sooner rather than later, and he or she may not take the same approach as the incumbent. Fears that a return to the Obama-era policy of 'strategic patience' or the Bush-era policy of aggression and firm anti-DPRK rhetoric. Perhaps this meeting is a potential last ditch effort to shore up agreements between the two states so that the progress made in normalisation of diplomatic relations is not lost in the wake of an impeachment or a democratic landslide in the November mid-terms leaving Trump a weaker figure in US politics.

4) Since June, nations such as Russia and China have begun relaxing sanctions, much to the dismay of the US. This seems to have been directly in the wake of the DPRK opening up to the world diplomatically and showing it is open to negotiations. The second meeting may attempt to prove this fact to the world and encourage more nation states to begin relaxing sanctions before any concrete steps towards denuclearisation are made.

5) It has recently been reported that both Koreas are pushing the US for a full peace declaration to end the Korean War officially. There has reportedly been pushback from the US administration, however Trump supposedly affirmed his willingness to secure a final peace declaration at the last meeting. Since this plea from the korean side has fallen on deaf ears in the US since the summit, this second meeting could be an effort to get Trump to make a concrete statement on ending the war for good. This would mean that a continued US military presence on the peninsula would no longer be fully justified and give Beijing and Pyongyang a foothold to push for the demilitarisation of the peninsula by the United States.

The second summit could have many benefits and pitfalls for both sides, however there is a lot to be gained by all sides. It would also be a route to continued negotiations at lower levels, however all sides should be wary of the demise of the 6-party talks in the early 2000s which ended when miscommunications in the tense diplomatic environment caused a breakdown in talks and a satellite launch attempt in 2009 along with a nuclear test in the same year. As long as all parties are realistic about goals and expectations and have a clear agenda coming into these talks, it could result in a major breakthrough for peace in Korea.

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