Kim Jong-un

Trump-Kim, towards their second summit. Nieves C. Pérez Rodríguez

Washington.- The USA is living a heated political environment in its capital with the president’s stubbornness in moving forward until Congress approves the funds to build the wall on the border with Mexico. Meanwhile, at the international level, Washington has on the agenda a second historic meeting between Trump and Kim Jon-un, and that can could be used to try to change the focus of attention.

Kim Jong was on an official visit to the Chinese capital, as if he were going to ask permission to meet the adversary. In fact, last Thursday (January 10th), the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, stated that Kim’s trip to Beijing was an announcement of an imminent meeting that will take place between Trump and Kim. This happened previously in the first meeting and after his return from Singapore.

North Korea has very few allies, and China is more than an ally for Pyongyang; It is a protection card, a kind of international shield that has helped to survive its isolation. Kim knows it and accept it.

This visit coincides with the anniversary of the 70 years of bilateral relations between both, and demonstrates a strategic strengthening of their closeness, along with a common agenda for the year. In their conversations, most likely the issue of a second meeting with Trump and to what extend Kim should be flexible were discussed.

Earlier in this year, Trump said in a tweet that he was waiting for a meeting with Kim while we made it clear that North Korea has great economic potential and that its leader is aware of it. And then he said that they are negotiating the place where the meeting could take place. According to CNN, the places that are being floated are Vietnam, Thailand, Hawaii and maybe even New York or Geneva.

Vietnam is a country with close relations with the United States, which the secretary of state visited last summer. During that visit he expressed how “the Vietnamese economy has benefited from its exchanges with America” and, in addition, he emphasized the positive impact the abandonment of its nuclear program had meant to Vietnam, as a good example to follow for the North Koreans.

Thailand is a country closer to North Korea, and where they have diplomatic headquarters. Kim Jong-un surely feels more comfortable attending a summit there. In addition to being relatively close to the Korean peninsula.

Hawaii is not neutral territory. In fact, it’s literally enemy territory for Kim, so it’s very unlikely to be the venue. Regarding New York, even though as it is the headquarters of the United Nations it could be more feasible, still holds the great difficulty of distance. The same happens with Geneva. Even Kim himself offered Pyongyang, but for Washington it would be an uncomfortable place where they would have no control.

We cannot but wait for the decision to be made and announced. However, the problem is fundamental, the advances in the denuclearization have not been made effective. Pyongyang wants the international sanctions to be suppressed, but without any real signs of change.

The great winner is still Kim Jong-un, who in less than a year has visited China four times on official visit and with all the honours of a Head of State: he has met with the president of South Korea a couple of times; he sent a delegation to participate in the Winter Olympics, and today, he is preparing a second meeting with the American leader when only last January we were fearing an attack from Pyongyang and a change of their relations was unthinkable. (Traducción: Isabel Gacho Carmona)

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