What the Hanoi Summit Tells Us About North Korea’s Nuclear Intentions

Christopher Watterson, Research Associate (christopher.watterson@kcl.ac.uk)

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What the Hanoi Summit Tells Us About North Korea’s Nuclear Intentions

The second U.S.-North Korea summit was a bust, with Kim and Trump leaving Hanoi without any mutual concessions or even a joint statement. In a post-mortem press conference North Korea explained its negotiating position, stating that it was willing to verifiably decommission the Yongbyon site in exchange for sanctions relief. While this would appear to be a significant concession given that Yongbyon contains North Korea’s only operational 5 MWe reactor and proven uranium enrichment facility, this article argues that the North Korean offer does not represent a sincere commitment to denuclearisation but rather an intention to shift its nuclear weapons enterprise away from the Yongbyon site.