On the eve of the historic meeting between Kim and Trump which may resolve one of the biggest nuclear crises of our century – though optimism is not on the rise these days – many pundits are brought to think: why is Trump willing to get to yes with North Korea while stubbornly throwing away an already achieved, and functioning, nuclear deal with Iran?
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 the Trump Administration prepares for the G7 meeting in Canada, the bulk of commentary in the press is focusing on how isolated the United States has become. The aluminium and steel tariffs, the renegotiation of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with respect to Iran, and the repudiation of the Paris Accords all combine to create tension between the Trump Administration and its G7 partners.
"Indo-Pacific", originally a geographic concept that spans two regions of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, is not a new concept in itself. 10 years ago, Gurpreet s. Khurana, who used the word" Indo-Pacific Strategy" for the first time, was a marine strategist and executive director of the New Delhi National Marine Foundation. Recently, he wrote in the Washington Post that the new term has changed the new strategic mind map since China’s “reform and opening up” in the 1980s. “Asia Pacific” has shaped the image of a community of interests linking the United States and East Asia.
The "Indo-Pacific" is the geopolitical referent for the Trump administration’s foreign policy toward Asia – East, Southeast and South – and the Pacific. Since it was first articulated in November 2017, the concept has taken on a more normative tinge and is now an integral part of the larger "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”. As much is implicit in the phrase as is explicit, however, and those assumptions are perhaps even more important.
Trade wars are becoming a reality. After a short period of apparent detente, US President Donald Trump recently declared that Washington is ready to levy tariffs on Chinese imports for $50bn, as well as broader investment restrictions. Now, trade talks have come to an impasse: the US Administration will also impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, as well on Mexico and Canada.
In the past decade, the EU has shown the world its ability to struck ambitious trade deals and to create the conditions for win-win agreements. Today, its trade policy is endangered by the threat of a trade war initiated by the United States, the EU closest ally and main trade partner.