Nuclear Crisis Group Reacts to Aborted Trump-Kim Summit

Experts Say Aborted Summit is a Disappointment, but Must Not Be The End of Negotiations

This morning, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un abruptly ended their summit in Hanoi with no deal   Progress remains possible, however, and negotiators must be put right back to work to hammer out a deal that can gain the support of both countries.

Jon Wolfsthal, director of the Nuclear Crisis Group, an international task force of top former diplomats and senior military officials working to defuse nuclear flashpoints around the globe, issued the following statement in response to today’s turn of events:

“The aborted summit between Trump and Kim is a disappointment, but it must not be the end of efforts to negotiate an agreement with North Korea. Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs continue to represent a major challenge to global security, and Trump must empower U.S. negotiators to work out a deal that reduces the risk of nuclear confrontation and serves the security interests of the United States, North Korea and the world.

“Contrary to official statements issued in  Hanoi, it appears President Trump – at the urging of National Security Advisor John Bolton – moved the goalposts and blew up the meeting with last minute demands North Korea was not prepared to accept. While it’s right to say you must be willing to walk away from a bad deal, the Administration should not walk away from the negotiating process. Progress will take time, and there remains a strong possibility for the negotiators to work and complete a deal over the next few months.

“What is clear is that diplomacy, not threats, holds the key to defusing the nuclear threat on the Korean peninsula.  There is a real chance for freezing and eventually rolling back North Korea’s nuclear program, but no one should expect this to be quick or easy.”

In June 2017, Global Zero’s international Nuclear Crisis Group released a set of urgent recommendations to avoid the use of nuclear weapons and called on national leaders to act to reduce the unacceptably high risk of nuclear conflict. The report called for the United States and North Korea to begin immediate discussions, without any preconditions, to reduce the risk of conflict and advocated for these immediate steps, which could serve as a roadmap for follow-on negotiations:

  • Refrain from nuclear threats and adopt nuclear no-first-use statements;
  • Suspend flights by US strategic bombers and visits by strategic submarines in return for key commensurate restraints by North Korea;
  • Resume humanitarian assistance to North Korea;
  • Agree not to adopt new sanctions on North Korea;
  • Fully and consistently implement communication links between DPRK and ROK military leaders;
  • Refrain from provocative military actions that could escalate to nuclear conflict; and
  • Reaffirm the September 19, 2005 Six-Party joint statement on denuclearization as part of multilateral negotiations.

Additionally, the Nuclear Crisis Group urged these follow-up steps:

  • Pursue a permanent peace regime;
  • End production/separation of plutonium and highly-enriched uranium under verification;
  • Expand and enhance Track-II discussions by North Korea, the United States, and other regional states;
  • Agree to a non-nuclear deployment pledge for the Korean peninsula from the United States, and North and South Korea;
  • Create UN-endorsed multilateral security guarantees for North and South Korea from China and the United States;
  • Implement progressive sanctions relief and economic assistance in parallel with progress in denuclearization;
  • Suspend US-ROK joint military drills, establish US-DPRK diplomatic relations, and complete economic and energy assistance at the time North Korea’s denuclearization is fully implemented and verified (by the five parties in the Six-Party Talks and the IAEA); and
  • Pursue negotiations to establish Northeast Asia as a nuclear-weapons-free zone.

View the full set of recommendations here:

A full list of NCG members can be found here: