Tip Sheets

Vietnam takes regional spotlight in Trump-Kim summit

The United States and North Korea are set to continue talks this week in preparation for the second Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi later this month.

Thomas Pepinsky

Professor of Government

Thomas Pepinsky, a professor of international politics and an expert in South East Asia at Cornell University, says that while all eyes are on the U.S. and North Korea now, we should not forget the broader regional context, as well as the significance of Vietnam being chosen to host the summit. 

Pepinsky says:

“President Trump's upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un in Vietnam has a particular significance for both the United States and for North Korea. North Korea and Vietnam are both nominally post-communist countries, linking them in Cold War geopolitical terms. But the United States today enjoys good trade relations with Vietnam, and the two countries’ militaries have explored limited cooperative naval exercises.

“The growing influence of China, Vietnam's longtime rival and northern neighbor, makes it in both U.S. and Vietnam's interests to strengthen their bilateral ties. Although Vietnam will merely play host to this second Trump-Kim summit, the decision to hold it there does signify the importance of the broader regional context for U.S.-North Korean relations.”

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