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What next?

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By John Burton

A successful outcome to the Hanoi summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was always based on the premise that both sides were willing to take gradual steps and make compromises.

The outlines of a potential deal were already clear before the Hanoi summit. The U.S. would agree to a declaration ending the Korean War, scale back or cancel joint military exercises with Seoul and establish a liaison office in Pyongyang in the first step toward diplomatic normalization. In return, North Korea would allow some nuclear inspectors into the country and dismantle more nuclear and missile facilities, while keeping its freeze on nuclear and missile testing in place. These steps could be accompanied by a partial easing of U.S. sanctions.

Given this context, it appears that both Trump and Kim overplayed their hand. Kim demanded that tough U.N. sanctions that had been imposed since 2016 be lifted in return for dismantling North Korea's nuclear facility at Yongbyon, while leaving the fate of other suspected nuclear facilities in the country unclear. Trump countered by demanding that North Korea give up all its nuclear facilities in return for sanctions relief, according to The New York Times.

Critics of........

© The Korea Times