The two are expected to reunite in Hanoi, Vietnam on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28, which will follow what was the first-ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.
Trump announced the second meeting at his State of the Union address earlier in February.
“As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Trump said at the time. “Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in more than 15 months.”
“If I had not been elected president of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea,” Trump went on to claim. “Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one.”
Here’s what to expect from the upcoming meeting.
Nuclear testing and denuclearization
Denuclearization will likely be at the center of their meeting, Vice Adm. Robert B. Murrett, a professor of practice, public administration and international affairs at Syracuse University, told Fox News.
“A lot of progress has been made since last summer,” he said, but noted that denuclearization hasn’t “progressing as quickly as hoped.”
While Trump and Kim signed a document promising to work toward “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” during the first summit, Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence, cast doubt on whether the so-called Hermit Kingdom would truly “give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities,” he said during a testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in late January.
“Our assessment is bolstered by our observations of some activity that is inconsistent with full denuclearization,” he said at the time.
“We hope we’re going to be very much equally as successful [at the second summit]. I’m in no rush for speed. We just don’t want testing.”
Speaking from the Rose Garden in mid-February, Trump also implied he may not push for full denuclearization as long as North Korea agrees to stop testing any weapons of mass destruction.
“We hope we’re going to be very much equally as successful [at the second summit]. I’m in no rush for speed. We just don’t want testing,” he said.
That said, there are expectations for the second summit to “include concrete, detailed, actual execution plans,” regarding denuclearization, Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, South Korea, told NPR.
A peace treaty?
There’s growing speculation that Trump may offer an announcement of peace and a formal end to the Korean War if he can convince Kim to commit to denuclearization.
The Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice, essentially a cease-fire signed by North Korea, China and the 17-nation, U.S.-led United Nations Command that was supposed to be replaced by a formal peace treaty. But both sides instead settled ever deeper into Cold War hostilities marked by occasional outbreaks of violence.
The conflict in Korea is technically America’s longest war.
But a peace treaty, even decades later, could have significant benefits for North Korea — potentially easing trade sanctions on the country and leading to economic growth, for starters.
“Trade is going to be a part of [their talks],” Murrett said, adding Kim has expressed interest in “bringing their economy into the 21st century.”
A treaty could also result in regional peace “with South Korea but also broader in the context of Eastern Asia, Japan and Russia,” he added.
However, a potential treaty “is not just about the U.S. and North Korea,” Murrett noted.
While Trump technically could unilaterally announce the end of the Korean War, he can’t by himself conclude an actual peace treaty. China, and possibly a representative of the U.N. Command, would have to be involved, as would South Korea. Additionally, the U.S. Senate would have to ratify whatever the treaty entailed.
Trump’s credit for the meeting
Does Trump deserve credit for the upcoming second summit? Murrett thinks he does — at least, in part.
“Anytime you have rigorous communication between two countries with significant issues, the senior leaders deserve credit,” he said. “It’s a good intersection of leadership between the U.S. and Asia.”
Murrett added he “commends any political leadership with current or potential adversaries.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.