Next steps in the North Korea talks
As nuclear disarmament talks proceed between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the two sides are pursuing incompatible negotiating strategies. The U.S. wants tangible, verifiable progress fast, while North Korea is convinced that President Donald Trump is winging it. These opposed courses could soon lead to an impasse. Even so, the prospects for an escalation of conflict remain low.
Opinion: Can the North Korean leopard change its spots?
The June 12, 2018, Singapore summit between the president of the United States and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was better than the alternative – a potentially catastrophic outcome of belligerent rhetoric between two nuclear-armed states. A great deal will depend on what has been agreed in that other, less reported, North Korean summit – the one between China’s President Xi Jinping and Mr. Kim. For the West, though, the ultimate success hinges on keeping a focus on human rights as an essential part of the process.
Kim Watch: ‘Our nukes should be handed to the next generation intact’
U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to a face-to-face summit with North Korea’s dictator because he hoped against hope that Kim Jong-un could somehow be persuaded to give up his stockpile of nuclear weapons and stop ballistic missile development programs. Now, back at home, the dictator is busy assuring his cadre and public that he will not allow any of it.
Regional shifts are marginalizing ASEAN
In the huge geopolitical shifts happening in East Asia and the Indo-Pacific, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been conspicuously absent. Split over Chinese activity in the South China Sea, the organization is unready to face these new challenges. If ASEAN becomes irrelevant, it will impact the big players, such as the U.S. and China, too – they will have lost a major facilitator of peace and stability in the region.
The Trump-Kim summit: Japan’s perspective
The effects of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore in May are still reverberating around the globe, especially in Japan. As the geopolitics in the region shift, it could cause new tensions that the country, with its shrinking population, will be hard-pressed to handle. Its greatest concern is what concessions the Trump administration may be willing to give China for its part in bringing Kim Jong-un to heel, which could have a huge impact on Japan’s security.
Scenarios for North Korea
Why has Kim Jong-un decided to enter peace talks with South Korea now? There are several possibilities. He could be trying to reintegrate his country with the global community, maneuvering for tactical advantage or preparing for an exit from power. The latter carries the most risk and could destabilize the region.
What to expect of North Korea?
Faced with an assertive U.S. military and diplomatic response to his latest tests of nuclear weapons systems, the North Korean ruler has changed his tack. Kim Jong-un now says he is ready to give up his nuclear deterrence and make peace with South Korea. Seoul and Washington are happy to explore this opening, but Beijing and Moscow, both interested in maintaining status quo in the Korean Peninsula, are more apprehensive. There is also the question of Mr. Kim’s true intentions.
GIS Dossier: The North Korean opening
President Donald Trump’s surprising decision to hold summit talks with Kim Jong-un has triggered a round of high-stakes diplomacy, including repeat meetings between North and South Korean officials and a lightning visit by Mr. Kim to Beijing. There is nothing accidental about Pyongyang’s charm offensive. It is the moment the North Korean leader has been preparing for years.
Trump-Kim meeting marginalizes China
For years, China has had a contradictory policy on North Korea. On one hand, it condoned Pyongyang's nuclear program, while on the other it tried to broker talks to shut it down. Now, with U.S. President Donald Trump accepting an invitation from Kim Jong-un to meet and discuss denuclearization, China has been sidelined. It will still hold plenty of economic sway over its neighbor, but its grip on Pyongyang is clearly weakening.
The ‘neutralization option’ in North Korea
The possibility of the United States launching a preemptive attack against North Korea’s nuclear missile program appears to have receded with Pyongyang’s recent peace overtures, but the two are connected. The conventional wisdom holds that such a strike, dubbed a “bloody nose,” is unthinkable. But that ignores the long history of U.S.-South Korean planning for war against North Korea, the extensive intelligence collected on the North’s conventional and nuclear forces, and the overwhelming U.S. military advantage.