Donald Trump credits himself with averting major war with North Korea

Barham Salih

Some give him credit for opening a dialogue with Kim after years of drift under his predecessor, Barack Obama, but some also criticize him for failing to elicit any concrete pledges about denuclearization when he met the North Korean leader in Singapore last June. A United Nations report this week said North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes "remain intact" and its leaders are dispersing missile assembly and testing facilities to prevent "decapitation" strikes.

Here are four reasons Vietnam is a logical choice for the next round of talks between Trump and Kim.

Due to its recent role as a summit host city, experts suggest Da Nang is a more likely location for the meeting than Hanoi. Both are fewer than 2,000 miles from North Korea's capital of Pyongyang-an even shorter hop from North Korea than Singapore.

Stephen Biegun, Pompeo's special representative for North Korea, acknowledged that many issues make it especially complicated for the two countries to "embark on a diplomatic initiative of this magnitude".

Vietnam was once a bitter enemy of the United States...

...

Like North Korea, Vietnam was once locked in a bloody and bitter war with the US.

"He ratcheted up the rhetoric about "Little Rocket Man" at the start of his administration, threatening "fire and fury" should North Korea attack the U.S".

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"Vietnam is locked in a pretty intense rivalry with China in the South China Sea, so Hanoi is looking for regional and worldwide diplomatic support as a hedge against Beijing", said Murray Hiebert, senior associate of the Southeast Asia Program at the Centre for Strategic and global Studies in Washington. He expressed hopes the talks would lead to "concrete, substantive progress". The US is also an important trade partner for Vietnam, especially now that Washington and Beijing are stuck in an ongoing trade dispute. One of the world's poorest countries just 30 years ago, Vietnam has transformed into a booming middle-income economy.

Opinion about Trump's outreach to Kim Jong Un divides North Korea experts.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made that case in June in Hanoi, when he pointed to the country's evolving relations with the US, which went from fighting to a partnership. In remarks aimed at Kim, Pompeo said, "Your country can replicate this path. It's yours if you'll seize the moment".

US President Donald Trump's pledge on Sunday to keep American troops in Iraq has been condemned as "an insult" to national sovereignty, fuelling growing calls for Baghdad to expel "foreign forces".

"My relationship with Kim Jong-un is a good one...." Although the relationship hasn't been flawless and both countries have had arguments about trade, Hanoi has always maintained its ties with Pyongyang.

"We have a chance.to show everyone that Vietnam is a handsome country and that the Vietnamese are friendly", she said.

There are an 5,000 estimated USA military personnel in Iraq authorised to train, advise and assist Iraqi security forces in their fight against IS, which has not fully controlled any territory in the country for more than a year.

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