Kim Told North Korea Generals to Halt Activities Ahead of Summit

Fearing panicking US, he wanted nothing out of the ordinary

According to South Korean officials familiar with the situation, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was eager to make the Hanoi Summit goes as smoothly as possible, and even took the rare step of ordering top generals not to carry out any unplanned activities of any kind in the weeks ahead of it.

The concern was that any activity seen as out of the ordinary would panic the US and possibly provoke the Trump Administration into bailing on the negotiations. Since the US ultimately did this anyhow, at least at the ed of the summit, it’s not clear how much the advanced care mattered.

But it was reflective of the nervous attitude on both sides going into the talks. The US was also treating the summit as if any wrong move could spoil everything, reflective in the administration’s severe limitation of military exercises which historically have provoked the North Koreans.

Both sides clearly recognized the importance of the opportunity, and the mutual distrust that could threaten to derail it. This would seem to have made this an ideal time to make peace, though ultimately the interest in keeping everything going didn’t extend into deal-making itself.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of