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Xi visit may revive North Korea nuclear diplomacy

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Subject

North Korea's foreign relations.

Significance

China’s President Xi Jinping visited Pyongyang on June 20-21, ahead of the G20 summit in Osaka where he will meet his US counterpart Donald Trump. Trump is then due in Seoul on June 29-30 to meet President Moon Jae-in. Reports that Trump may visit Panmunjom in the inter-Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) have sparked speculation of steps to revive nuclear diplomacy, possibly even including an unannounced third summit with Kim.

Impacts

  • North Korea will be Trump’s main agenda item in Seoul, so some initiative seems likely.
  • South Korea risks being sidelined if nuclear diplomacy resumes, with China perhaps taking the intermediary role.
  • If Trump and Kim meet at Panmunjom, that would boost Moon’s position; the more so if he joins them.
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