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US-DPRK Summit 2019: US experts comment on DPRK-USA Summit’s outcomes

US experts shared their comments on the outcomes of the second summit between US President Donald Trump and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jong-un, which ended in Hanoi on February 28 without any agreement signed.

According to Prof Leon Sigal, Director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project under the US’s Social Science Research Council, the negotiating issue was how sanctions could be relaxed in return for steps toward denuclearisation by the DPRK.

“It was also clear from the discussion at the press conference hosted by President Trump that just because they didn’t agree this time, that doesn’t mean talks are over. I think that’s important because it seems to me this is quite negotiable”.

Regarding other things that were mentioned at the press conference, Sigal said the two sides have the basis for agreement here but the critical thing is if the US version is correct the DPRK overreached by wanting to end all the sanctions.

On the other hand, to ask for the sanctions to be eliminated at this point is too big a step given what the DPRK people are prepared to do on the denulearisation side.

“So I think it’s well worth everybody’s while to get back negotiating” he said, adding that “It is time to get over the summit”.

“It struck me that the President was keeping the door open,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Jenny Town, a research analyst from the Stimson Center, said it is surprising that they didn’t come away with a preliminary deal, as they clearly had the outline for one going into the final round of pre-summit negotiations.

“But it seems both sides still wanted more than what the other was willing to accept. Taking more time to negotiate is not a bad development, but walking away from the summit with nothing is likely to have a deflating effect on the process as a whole,” she said.

According to her, for all the stakeholders in this process, the lack of movement on the DPRK-US agenda puts the Republic of Korea in a very awkward position, unable to secure the sanctions exemptions they were hoping for as part of this deal, which would facilitate the resumption of inter-Korean economic cooperation.