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What You Need to Know About Trump and Kim’s Second Summit

China and Russia Warn the U.S. Not to Seek North Korean Regime Change
Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg
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The bellicose rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea has certainly cooled, with no more threats of nuclear annihilation or personal insults. But months after Donald Trump shared a historic handshake with Kim Jong Un in June, a nuclear deal remains elusive. The U.S. president cites the more than year-long break in North Korean missile tests as a diplomatic success and says he’s in “no hurry” to get more done, even as North Korea’s nuclear program quietly advances. North Korea has accused the U.S. of “gunboat diplomacy” by making demands without offering something in return. As the two leaders prepare for a second summit Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam, there’s still the difficult issue of putting meat on the bare-bones language in the declaration the two leaders signed at their first meeting.

Four things: To normalize ties between the U.S. and North Korea, formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, repatriate U.S. war remains and -- crucially -- “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” But “work toward” is undefined. It’s also unclear whether the U.S. nuclear umbrella over South Korea is included. U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo says that Kim accepted the “final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.” North Korea points out the agreement referred to the entire peninsula and insists U.S. weapons must go at the same time, or it would be left vulnerable to attack.