President Trump likes to boast that if he had not been elected we would be in a major war with North Korea right now.
And as hyperbolic as that sounds, there is an element of truth.
By the end of 2017 it had got to the stage that one wrong word, one false military manoeuvre could have led Kim Jong Un to hit the nuclear button.
He had conducted his 6th nuclear test and declared his weapons programme complete.
He and President Trump had traded insults and threats for almost the entire year.
Then, in Kim's 2018 New Year address the diplomatic path that has led us here to Hanoi began.
Whether it was hubris or a clever strategic gamble, President Trump seized on that momentum to engineer his first meeting with Kim Jong UN.
The first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.
But as historic as that summit was and although it has led to the halt of missile and nuclear testing in North Korea, it has not, as the president asserts, removed the nuclear threat from North Korea.
There is evidence to suggest that since Singapore, Pyongyang has continued with the production of missiles and potentially nuclear weapons.
The pressure is therefore on Donald Trump this week to do what he claims to do best and make a deal with North Korea, in which the threat can finally, and definitively be diminished.
So here’s what we think President Trump and Chairman Kim will shake and sign on:
- 1 - A joint definition of denuclearisation - the different interpretation on this has been what has derailed talks with North Korea in the past.
- 2 - A road-map - setting out a timetable and specific targets such as the dismantling of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility.
- 3 - Agreement on the timing and terms of an End of War declaration.
- 4 - The creation of liaison offices in Pyongyang for the US and in New York or Washington for North Korea - an important reassurance against a US attack which can help facilitate regular dialogue.
- 5 - Economic support for North Korea - either a specific trade deal or the partial lifting of sanctions.
If the two leaders were to agree to the above we would indeed see history made in Hanoi.