Following weeks of ups and downs surrounding the prospects for the first meeting ever between a sitting US president and the North Korean leader, the two countries officials laid the groundwork for it by engaging in "microwave diplomacy" as US journalist Barbara Demick called it. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, however, stood above the diplomatic roller coaster as the sole actor who keeps working on infusing coherence and stability into this ride.
Tokyo is paying a hefty price. The price for the country's prime minister's near-obsession to follow Trump's erratic and ever-changing policy lead on North Korea. The devote Shinzo Abe for a long time bragged about being in constant touch with Trump on respective policies towards North Korea. Too bad, however, that Trump decided to kiss good sense and even remotely rational behaviour good-bye for good changing his mind on and policies towards Pyongyang on a daily basis.
“President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new US-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and the security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world”.
The once unthinkable is imminent. On June 12 at 09:00 local time, at the Capella Hotel on Singapore's resort island Sentosa, the top leaders of the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea) will meet for the first time in history.
What will Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un talk about? Many things, no doubt. But first and foremost, denuclearization.
American foreign policy is abandoning its successful historical roots. Since the late nineteenth century the United States has pursued expansionist policies in Asia. American businessmen have sought markets for their products. American missionaries have looked for souls to save. American strategists have reached for bases they could use to project the nation's military power.
Following a dangerous escalation of tensions last year, few could have envisaged the rapid turnaround in events witnessed so far amidst a flurry of high-level summit diplomacy. Although the complete denuclearization of North Korea remains a hypothetical scenario for now, its prospect would herald huge implications not only for inter-Korean relations, but also regional security dynamics in Northeast Asia.
As we approach the US-North Korea summit in Singapore, there is much speculation about the potential outcome. Will the US persuade North Korea to lay down its nuclear weapons programme? Will North Korea use the negotiations to incrementally secure resources and gains from the US side while keeping its trump card to the very end? Much speculation on the outcome has also centred around the two men's personalities, since so much of what has been different this time around seems to stem from their personal choices.
The upcoming meeting between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping is the main political event of the year in terms of Russian-Chinese relations. On the agenda there is the implementation of the agreement to reach a $200 bln bilateral trade level by 2020, the task that was assigned by the leaders of two countries. The key precondition for the success of this agreement is shifting to a new model of cooperation, with more connected production chains and diverse investment ties.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reforms and opening up. In four decades, China has learned how to grasp the benefits of globalisation and has become a world economic champion. As the world’s second-largest economy, today China is no longer the factory of the world but an industrial power aiming at the forefront of major hightech sectors, in direct competition with Europe and the US. In sharp contrast with Trump’s scepticism on multilateralism, President Xi has renewed his commitment to growing an open global economy.
U.S. American President Donald Trump announced – during his first Asia tour in November 2017 – that it was now time to think about the Indo-Pacific strategy. This has de facto put an end to Washington's previous Asia-Pacific strategy adopted by Trump's predecessor in 2011: the U.S. "pivot to Asia". This shift increases the chances of recreating what has been known as the so-called 'Quad', that is, an alliance which comprises the US, India, Japan, and Australia.