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by Sharon Rondeau

Montage credit: Paris 16 at Wikimedia Commons, CC by S.A. 2.0

(Feb. 22, 2019) — On Friday morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told the hosts of “Fox & Friends” that the “expectations” of next week’s summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un is “continued conversations.”

Trump and Kim will be meeting on February 27 and 28 in Hanoi, Vietnam, a communist country with which the U.S. has a diplomatic relationship.  The goal of the Trump administration’s outreach to Kim is “a common understanding of what denuclearization means,” according to Reuters on Thursday.

Sanders said that progress has been made since the first summit in Singapore last June and that it is important for dialog to continue between the two nations.  She cited that some remains of American soldiers have been returned and that the president assumed a volatile situation with Jong-Un upon taking office in January 2017.

The agreement signed last year put forth four principles on which the two nations agreed, including the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and “efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”

Less than one month after the summit, U.S. news reports indicated that North Korea was not adhering to the pledge of decommissioning its nuclear test sites.

Although war games were halted following the summit, Reuters additionally reported, citing a “U.S. official,” that the potential removal of the 28,000+ U.S. troops stationed in South Korea is not a topic of discussion.  On Thursday, The Atlantic reported that “a senior Trump administration official” indicated to journalists that North Korea has not made a definitive decision to denuclearize.

As of Friday morning, mainstream outlets are predicting disappointing results from the summit, with Politico headlining an article with, “The North Korea summit nobody wanted.”

However, at the same time, The Washington Post reported that “a credible offer” from Kim to close the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center, said by one nuclear scientist to be North Korea’s “the heart of” North Korea’s nuclear activity.  But the paper also added, “Closing Yongbyon would do nothing to reduce North Korea’s current arsenal of nuclear bombs and missiles. And it remains unclear whether Kim Jong Un is prepared to surrender that arsenal.”

According to VnExpress, ten hotels have been reserved to accommodate delegations from both countries amid considerable preparations.

“Hanoi Is Happy Cozying Up to Trump,” wrote Foreign Policy on Thursday.  “At the U.S.-North Korea summit, the host may be the biggest winner.”

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