23:27 GMT28 January 2020
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    Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un will begin their summit in Vietnam with brief talks followed by a dinner on Wednesday evening. Prior to the talks, Trump is expected to meet Vietnam’s prime minister and other officials.

    Prior to the summit, Trump said he was in "no rush" to pressure Pyongyang to denuclearise. "As long as there's no testing, we are happy," he said.

    Sputnik discussed the US-North Korea summit with Dr. Adam Broinowski, a postdoctoral research fellow at Australian National University.

    READ MORE: North Korea Wants to ‘Cement' Progress With US at Trump-Kim Summit

    Sputnik: What do you expect from this summit? Mr. Trump said that he and Kim Jong-un will try hard on denuclearisation.

    Adam Broinowski: I guess it's probably modest at best in terms of what they can achieve at this stage; the expectations are probably realistically and optimistically [something] between an agreement to commit to roadmap and to commit to the formulation of a roadmap between the two countries. I would say that there will be a number of offers made and suggestions for taking up those offers, but whether those will be committed to, we'll have to wait and see. I think that's about the extent of it.

    Sputnik: How high are the chances that Pyongyang will agree to denuclearise on US terms?

    Adam Broinowski: It probably depends on what US terms are. If the US terms are 'all or nothing' — you know, more of the same sanctions that are crippling the North Korean economy and continuing the hardships that are suffered by the North Korean people, or 'all' which is to show all of the sites, all of the missile and nuclear production facilities, the inventories that that entails and to begin dismantling those before any offers of sanctions relief are given by the US, then I'd say that the North Koreans would be unlikely to commit to that, because they've certainly exposed themselves to a great deal of hardship in order to get that nuclear deterrent and would be unwilling to give it up so easily.

    Sputnik: Speaking of economic hardships, how would you assess the current economic situation in North Korea?

    Adam Broinowski: It's been debated quite extensively. Some on one side say that sanctions are not biting too hard; on the other hand, it's difficult to imagine that it would be easy with your vital supply lines of oil and petroleum products being cut or being heavily restricted, and forcing the economy to go into clandestine means of fundraising and other ways of procuring that vital resource; it's hard to imagine that it would be easy. So I think that hardship is certainly biting. I think the argument around lifting sanctions or at least reducing sanctions gradually, step by step, in return for goodwill and genuine and authentic information sharing on nuclear facilities and their processes of dismantlement as a genuine way towards the denuclearisation of the peninsula, then certainly that would be a viable step.

    READ MORE: Trump-Kim Summit: North Korea Seeking Guarantee of No More Nuclear Threats

    Sputnik: President Trump tweeted that Vietnam is thriving like few places on Earth, and he said that North Korea would be the same if it denuclearises. Do you agree with Mr. Trump?

    Adam Broinowski: It's hard to know without all of that pathway and interim steps put in place step by step, reciprocal agreements to proceed carefully on the denuclearisation front in return for lifting the sanctions and allowing the North Korean economy to gradually trade with its neighbours, particularly South Korea, through the various mechanisms that are slowly being established across the border there, the inter-Korean economic cooperation projects; then it's hard to see how Trump's promise of North Korea becoming the next rapid growth economy in Asia could possibly become a real thing. That said, Japan, South Korea and China have all gone through rapid economic growth because of their populations, their geographic position in one of the largest growth areas in the world. So, certainly, if North Korea was allowed to behave like a normal nation and trade with its neighbours, and to join the international economy, then, certainly, North Korea could stand to profit enormously. And it wouldn't be out of the ballpark to say that North Korea could trade its enormous amounts of rare earth as well that a lot of the countries, including the US, could profit from. That would be a reasonable assumption to say that the North Korean economy could grow. It's particularly got a disciplined population that works very hard and would be capable of making such profitable moves. But it has to be allowed to.

    Sputnik: Do you think the country will become more open if Pyongyang decides to denuclearise?

    Adam Broinowski: Yes, I think we have to look at what has produced that garrison state that is a closed so-called hermetic kingdom in the first place. It's been under siege for 70 years; the Korean War is unending, it's the longest war in the region —69 years. It's been surrounded by hostile powers for a very long time and various subterfuge, intervention and interference. So, without that threat, perhaps, the North Korean society would be allowed to open and you wouldn't have such a dictatorial regime seeking to control everything for its very national survival. So I think rather than just saying that it's denuclearisation that would permit an economic benefit like some kind of blackmail or some kind of deal — if you don't denuclearise, you won't be able to flourish; I think we need to look at the sources of why the North Korean government is in the state that it's in in the present.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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