A meeting has been set in Hanoi or Danang in Vietnam on 27-28 February between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. In the State of the Union speech to Congress, Trump confirmed his intention to meet the North Korean leadership. He also confirmed his “good relations” with Kim. The US Special Envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, is expected to travel to North Korea to continue planning the second Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam.Since their first meeting in June in Singapore, North Korea did not conduct any nuclear test and also released US nationals. The US has also not taken part in exercises with South Korea. These actions have created good-will between the two countries to further negotiate and settle down their tense relations. Although US sources have confirmed that the DPRK has continued with its missiles program, that needs to be stopped. Washington wants a complete step down to decrease North Korean weapons measures. It is also believe that Trump is also heading for a meeting with the Taliban. Trump voiced guarded hope that intensifying negotiations with the Taliban would bring for a “possible political solution” to end the longest-ever American war. Zalmay Khalilzad, a Special Representative on Afghanistan, held wide negotiations with the Taliban. It is hoped that some outcome will come out of these negotiations. The US side is optimistic of these negotiations and pinning great hopes in it.It is believed that Trump will give more concession to Kim to step down from denuclearisation. Washington wants the DPRK to provide full details of its weapons and missile program, including the size and locations of storage sites, as well as international access. This will enable the US to offer more concessions to North Korea. For example, Kim has offered to destroy all facilities in Yongbyon, the country’s primary nuclear site, if Washington takes reciprocal measures. It is also believe that Trump is also heading for a meeting with the Taliban. Trump voiced guarded hope that intensifying negotiations with the Taliban would bring for a “possible political solution” to end the longest-ever American warSuch actions could include withdrawing American troops from South Korea and a formal treaty to end the Korean War. America needs to stop at this point instead of going deep into nuclear program. It is expected that Kim will abide by his commitment of its complete denuclearisation, putting an end to his nuclear program.This seem to be the first step in order to denuclearise North Korea and bringing it in line with other Asian nations that live without a nuclear program but showing economic mussels to the United States. In return, the United States lifts all economic measures against North Korea to make it a normal country. However, the US intelligence agencies doubts about North Korean nuclear program. They think that North Korea will continue with its nuclear program and never abandon its nuclear program. These are intelligence-based reports. On the surface things might turn different. Complete silence has been adopted by North Korea over Trump’s offer of holding his second meeting with Kim. North Korea needs to break out of this impasse and makes a statesmen over its nuclear program.The biggest threat the North Korean economy faces is an external threat and this was largely posed by the United States. It is hard to assume data about North Korean economy. The dearth of information about its economy has left economists with little options. It is even hard to estimate per capita for its citizens. The population of the State counters around 25 million. Officially speaking North Korea has not published its data about its economy fearing confrontation. The United Nations believes that the North Korean per capita could reach $665. Sanctions by the West weakened its growth and reduced its exports to a large extent.As efforts have been made to target its nuclear program, North Korea economy further plummeted and showed downward trends. There is state-run economy and everything is strongly controlled by the Government. The US dollar and Chinese Yuan are often used in exchange purposes. There is an active dollar market inside the country but everything is hiding. Market has two prices – state price and market price. They can vary hugely. Foreigners eat at certain restaurants and pay their bill in foreign currency. Under the sanctions, North Korean economy has not grown and faces a large number of challenges. Following sanctions, North Korean economy is fallen by 3.5 percent since 2017 marking the biggest contraction since a 6.5 percent drop in 1997.North Korea’s coal-intensive industries and manufacturing sectors greatly suffered. During sanctions, China emerged as the most lucrative partner of North Korea. The sanctions were stronger than done in the previous time. Kim has always asked the United States to remove sanctions and let its economy to grow to address its economic woes.Kim wants to focus on its industry and agriculture in a bid to move further. The grip by the United States is so great that North Korea did not expand its economic outlook. The removal of sanctions by the United States will be having a lasting impact on the scale of the economy of North Korea.The writer is Consultant at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad. He writes on East Asian affairsPublished in Daily Times, February 11th 2019.