Next up on Kim Jong Un’s diplomatic checklist: Vladimir Putin.
The summit itself comes as no surprise. After all, Russia has long been a traditional, if largely absentee, ally of North; a Kim-Putin meeting was long overdue.
It’s the timing that is significant. Kim, in a visit heavy on symbolic ties of friendship, will be seeking to shore up Russian support in the face of tough nuclear negotiations with the United States. Kim has acknowledged to his people that relations with the United States remain tenuous, and will be looking to reassure his people that their traditional relationships remain intact. Read More
Both men have unfinished tasks. Kim needs to establish some sort of reconciliation with the United States so that his country can move on from the Korean War and focus on building North Korea’s emaciated economy. Trump needs stronger commitments on denuclearization in order to back his claim that North Korea no longer remains a nuclear threat.
But there is a risk to rushing headlong into this second summit, as they did the first, without adequate preparation. Read More
This week’s summit in North Korea between Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in was packed with milestones and camera-ready moments, as the two leaders made another show of Korean unity in their third meeting this year. Read More
Simply by landing in Singapore in a 747, Kim Jong Un is doing something his late father, Kim Jong Il, never did: fly to a foreign country. And now we are seeing him interact with foreign leaders in real time, away from the bubble and protection of North Korea’s tightly controlled state media. It’s a remarkable moment for a country long called the Hermit Kingdom, and part of a carefully crafted strategy designed to make sure he continues to capture and captivate international media attention. Read More
We in the United States often call the Korean conflict the “Forgotten War.” My high school history textbook in Minnesota devoted barely a paragraph to it, and growing up as the child of Korean immigrants, I knew almost nothing about a war my own parents survived as children. But the war is very much alive and present in North Korea, and the standoff with the United States figures prominently in their propaganda, identity, and policy. Read More