In the period between 2016 and 2018 the threat North Korea posed to Japanese security increased dramatically. In that period, the regime led by Kim Jong-un carried out three nuclear tests between January 2016 and September 2017, demonstrating that it had become a de facto nuclear power.
The Singapore Summit between US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim was lighting a beacon of hope on the Korean Peninsula. After almost 70 years of unending war, a new historical chance was emerging that would gradually bring peace to the divided nation. But, after the summit, renewed frustration about a lack of progress was not long coming. Particularly, the US administration returned to old patterns of negotiation and demonstrated an ambiguous agenda.
The letter sent by Donald Trump to Kim Jong-un on May 24 gave the impression that no opportunities remained open for a historic meeting between the sitting president of the United States and the leader of North Korea.
In all likelihood, US President Donald Trump will be meeting with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, in Singapore on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of North Korea's denuclearization. It has been an arduous road to get to this point, with the ever-intensifying prospect of war breaking out in the Korean peninsula dramatically shifting to a deepening dialogue over peace, all taking place in the span of a year.
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.
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.
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.
“March madness” is not limited to US basketball courts but can define Pyongyang’s latest diplomatic overtures toward its neighbors. Frenzy basketball fever is accompanied by the unpredictability of the results of the college basketball tournament, which ranks the nation’s top 64 teams. Pyongyang’s diplomatic game is similar: full of surprises and unpredictability. Kim’s diplomatic game started out with his acceptance of a visit to Pyongyang by his South Korean counterpart’s special envoy.