See More on Facebook

Analysis, Diplomacy

After Kim-Trump summit, concrete actions needed.

The summit is over and done, now comes the hard part.


Written by

Updated: June 25, 2018

With the summit now consigned to history books, leaders from across the globe are now looking to the President of the United States and the Chairman of North Korea to fulfil their promise and begin the process of denuclearization.

A myriad of diplomatic undercurrents is in play.

The United States will have to balance Donald Trump’s desire to rewrite the history books and be the president to bring North Korea into the 21st century with the very real security concerns of their longtime allies in Seoul and Tokyo, not to mention the hawks residing in his own cabinet.

North Korea’s Kim will have to counterbalance the more extreme members of the military within his country while also not causing longtime ally and major trading partner China to feel uncomfortable with the Washington-Pyongyang rapprochement.

Allies make their move 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has already announced that Japan is prepared to cover some of the costs of the IAEA inspections in North Korea. The government hopes to further contribute to the denuclearization process by dispatching engineers and other personnel to North Korea, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun. 

Abe had spent the days before the summit flying to DC to appeal to Trump the real security concerns that Japan has.

North Korean test rockets regularly fly over the country and all major cities of the island-nation are within range of Pyongyang’s nuclear-tipped missiles.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, the denuclearization process envisaged by Japan, the United States and other nations, North Korea will first declare the entirety of its nuclear weapons and nuclear-related facilities, with the International Atomic Energy Agency verifying the content of this declaration through inspections and other steps.

In addition, the United States would spearhead a stage-by-stage dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and the scrapping and removal of its nuclear facilities. The IAEA would continue verification work during this process.

Such stringent examination and verification methods will be pushed by Abe who faces a sceptical electorate at home.

Trump’s allies in Seoul have been more receptive to the summit than their counterparts in Tokyo, after all, it was Moon Jae-in’s hard diplomatic work that made the entire gathering possible to begin with.

But Trump’s promise to end military drills between the US and South Korea have irked longtime observers and US supporters within the south.

An editorial in the Korea Herald argued:

“By promising to stop the joint military exercises without a parallel action on the North’s part to reduce security tensions on the peninsula, Trump surrendered a good negotiation card. No wonder his reckless, premature move has been under heavy fire from members of the US Congress, media and experts on North Korea. Trump also ignored the fact that the security threat from the North comes not only from its nukes and missiles, but also its conventional war capability, which is at a top level on a global scale.

… a drastic change to the status of the US forces in South Korea should never be made before achieving the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of the North’s nuclear capability and a significant reduction in threat from the North’s conventional forces.”

The China Factor

Kim for his part, rushed immediately to Beijing after the summit ended to debrief Xi Jinping on the proceedings.

It is thought by observers that Xi pressed on Kim that US-South Korea military drills must end before any other concrete steps can be taken.

After the Kim-Xi meeting, a statement was released in Chinese state media which highlighted the importance of China’s role in bringing peace to the peninsula.

“The third visit to China in less than three months by Kim Jong-un, top leader of the DPRK, is clear proof of the revitalized friendship between the two neighbours and the close communication between Kim and President Xi Jinping. It also underscores the coordination of Beijing and Pyongyang as they look to bolster the positive outcomes of Kim’s meeting with US President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12,” the statement read.

According to North Korean media, Kim declared that North Korea will cooperate closely with Chinese leadership in “the historic journey to open a new future on the Korean Peninsula and the region.”

“The point of interest now is the steps (North Korea) will take for denuclearization, but instead (Kim Jong-un) went to China, where Xi talked about strengthening China-North Korea relations,” said Cha Du-hyeogn, a visiting research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

“This could be seen as the North saying that it has nothing to give (in negotiations with the US) at this point and that they have support,” Cha told the Korean Herald.  Cha also said that the circumstances of the meeting suggests that the North wants to pace itself in dealings with the US.

Next Steps 

On Friday, Trump renewed sanctions on North Korea for a year in an executive order, saying the country poses an “extraordinary threat,” just 10 days after saying there was no nuclear risk from Pyongyang, according to the Korean Herald.

The extension appears to reaffirm the US position that sanctions will remain until denuclearization is achieved, despite Pyongyang and Washington engaging in negotiations to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons programs.

Also Friday, Seoul and Washington agreed to indefinitely suspend two Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises, scheduled to take place in the next three months, to support diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, the Pentagon said.

The allies have already announced that they will suspend the annual Freedom Guardian, large-scale exercises that had been planned for August, while talks with North Korea are underway “in good faith.”

With Trump attempting the placate both his allies and the north, the next move rests solely with Kim Jong-un – with the entire world watching closely.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Diplomacy

President Xi emphasizes role of Hong Kong, Macau

Both Hong Kong and Macao were told to integrate with nation’s overall development. President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday the unique and irreplaceable role of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions for China’s reform and opening-up in the new era. He also called on the two regions to better integrate themselves with the nation’s overall development. Xi’s remarks came as he met with a delegation of about 210 representatives from the two SARs who were in Beijing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up. The position and role of Hong Kong and Macao will only be strengthened rather than weakened, Xi said. The two regions should continue to play a leading role and enable more capital, technology and talent to take part in the country’s high-quality development and in the new round of high-level opening-up, he said. People of the two regions should continu


By China Daily
November 13, 2018

Analysis, Diplomacy

Report of NK’s ‘undisclosed’ missile bases not new, S. Korea says

South Korea’s presidential office on Tuesday played down a new report on North Korea’s “undisclosed” missile sites. South Korea’s government said that it’s going too far to call the North’s continued activity a “great deception” given that it has no specific agreement to dismantle or disclose the facilities mentioned in the report issued by Beyond Parallel, a group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The group said it has located 13 out of an estimated 20 missile operating bases undeclared by the secretive communist regime. “The dispersed deployment of these bases and distinctive tactics employed by ballistic missile units are combined with decades of extensive camouflage, concealment and deception practices to maximize the survival of its missile units from pre-emptive strikes and during wartime operations,” the report


By The Korea Herald
November 13, 2018

Analysis, Diplomacy

‘Forced repatriation’ to pose security risk

International crisis warns that forced repatriation of Rohingya refugees could pose serious security risks. The International Crisis Group has warned of serious security risks of “forced repatriation” of the Rohingya, just as Myanmar and Bangladesh prepare for the November 15 return of the refugees sheltered in Bangladesh. In a statement, the Brussels-based global advocacy body said Rohingyas strongly opposed the repatriation move and would do whatever they can to resist it. “This [forced repatriation] will increase tension in the camps and could lead to confrontations between refugees and Bangladesh security forces and greatly complicate humanitarian operations. “A botched repatriation attempt could potentially set back peace and development efforts by years,” said the statement released yesterday. It comes two weeks after Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to begin the repatriation


By Daily Star
November 13, 2018

Analysis, Diplomacy

Suu Kyi stripped of Amnesty honour

The Amnesty International has stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour, the latest of several honours taken away from her since last year’s brutal military crackdown on the Rohingyas. This is the eighth honour that the former Nobel peace prizewinner has been stripped of over the past year, with Amnesty following the example of Canada, US Holocaust Museum, UK’s Edinburgh, Oxford, Glasgow and Newcastle and Canada’s Carleton Universities which also revoked Suu Kyi’s honorary degrees and awards. The long-celebrated Nobel Laureate was given Amnesty’s most prestigious honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2009 marking the 20th anniversary of her arrest and 20 years since it declared her a prisoner of conscience. The AI yesterday announced withdrawal of its highest honour fr


By Daily Star
November 13, 2018

Analysis, Diplomacy

Kim Jong-un’s Seoul visit unlikely this year: experts

Stalled talks between Pyongyang and Washington likely cause for deceleration of diplomacy. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to Seoul appears to be less likely to take place this year without more progress in stalled denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington, experts said Sunday. South Korea’s Moon Jae-in administration is pushing to hold the fourth inter-Korean summit between Moon and Kim in Seoul within the year, in the hope of facilitating a breakthrough in the deadlocked US-North Korea talks. One of the unexpected achievements from the third summit, which was held in September in Pyongyang, was the North Korean leader’s promise to visit Seoul within the year. President Moon said at his speech at the National Assembly earlier this month that Kim’s visit to Seoul will take place in the near future. Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon said Friday at a parliamentary se


By Cod Satrusayang
November 12, 2018

Analysis, Diplomacy

US calls on China to remove missiles from Spratly Islands

For the first time, the United States called on China to remove missiles it deployed on three fortified outposts it built in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The United States called on China to withdraw its missile systems from disputed features in the Spratly Islands, and reaffirmed that all countries should avoid addressing disputes through coercion or intimidation,” the Department of State released in a statement on Saturday (Philippine time) after the high-level US-China diplomatic and security dialogue in Washington. Both US and China committed to supporting peace and stability in the South China Sea, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea in accordance with international law during the dialogue, it added.


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
November 12, 2018