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Kim-Trump meeting presages US climbdown

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Subject

The outlook for North Korea-US denuclearisation talks.

Significance

On June 30, President Donald Trump used a long-planned trip to South Korea after the G20 summit in Osaka to visit the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), for his third meeting in barely a year with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Impacts

  • Working talks will resume, but progress may depend on Pyongyang gaining partial sanctions relief.
  • Inter-Korean relations will likely remain stalled unless sanctions are eased.
  • The peninsula has not become risk-free; Kim may miscalculate or hardliners could push for policies even Trump cannot accept.
  • Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks his own summit with Kim; Kim has scant incentive to grant one.

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