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

Diplomatic thaw prompted active inter-Korean exchanges in 2018

The number of South Koreans visiting the North and vice versa increased sharply to 7,498 in 2018 from 115 in 2017. South Korea greatly expanded exchanges and cooperation with North Korea last year, buoyed by a diplomatic thaw following three inter-Korean summits, according to a new white paper published by the Ministry of Unification on Thursday. The surge in visits was attributed to government initiatives to cooperate with the North on an inter-Korean railway connection project, a forestry project and various sports events. Social and cultural exchanges driven by civic groups and local governments also played a role, according to the 2019 White Paper on


By The Korea Herald
March 22, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Italy to play a key role as Belt and Road opens new doors across globe

Italy will be a major part of China’s Belt and Road initiative. East-West relations have entered a new phase. Global integration, with sustained increases in crossborder exchanges of goods, technology, knowledge and resources, has reshaped international relations, spurring economic development of traditionally marginal regions and encouraging economic convergence among poorer and richer areas. The phenomenon has received great impetus from the possibilities offered by technological progress and the increase in physical and digital connectivity, strongly enhanced by the modernization and innovation efforts of Asian countries. What we have seen and are still seeing, indeed, is not a simple shift of production from the West to the East, but a real change in production models. The production and consumption of goods and services have followed value chains that are no longer confined to a local scale, but are


By China Daily
March 22, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

No sign of concrete policies for conflict in Thailand’s restive south

Parties offer few if any answers for a 15-year-old deadly insurgency that successive govts have failed to quell. Peace and conflict have never been significant parts of any political party platform in Thailand. This is because a sustainable solution calls for long-term commitment to a policy that could prove to be politically costly. Lasting peace requires self-reflection on the part of both the state and society. Policymakers have to rethink the policy of assimilation that has so far been rejected by the Malay Muslim populace of the southern border provinces because it comes at the expense of their cultural and religious identity. Full-fledged armed insurgency erupted in the far South in the 1960s, some 50 years after the signing of the Anglo-Siam Treaty that defined our current political borders. There was a brief calm in the 1990s, but the absence of violence did not mean peace. A new generat


By The Nation (Thailand)
March 22, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

How competing masculinities inform Pak-India escalation

Devaluing the other in gender hierarchies often takes place through feminisation. Last month, tensions reigned high between neighbouring nuclear powers that share an ugly history of separation and bellicosity. Once more, India and Pakistan seemed to be at the brink of war. Airports were shut down, the Line of Control was violated, and de-escalation — especially in the newfound absence of dedicated third-party intervention — looked out of bounds for the most part. War-mongering through media outlets prevailed while fake and selective news circulated in this situation of crisis. Yet, it is baffling — if also not amusing — that even in such delicate moments, rhetoric of ‘putting them in their place’ was omnipresent on both sides. Similarly, a few months ago, when Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted his disappointment regarding peace talks with India, he chastised that he ha


By Dawn
March 21, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Moon holds meeting with US intelligence chief in Seoul

The meeting comes after the failed Hanoi summit between Trump and Kim. President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday met with US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in Seoul to discuss bilateral issues, Cheong Wa Dae said. According to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom, Moon and Coats held an “in-depth and wide ranging discussion about current issues between South Korea and the US.” Coats’ visit is seen as aimed at sharing information and assessment of North Korea following the breakdown of last month’s summit between the two countries. Earlier, a local newspaper reported that Coats arrived at a US air base in Osan, south of Seoul,


By The Korea Herald
March 21, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Is Kim Jong-un considering ‘new way’?

Post Hanoi summit failure, speculation grows on what new mode of defense may be. Following the failure to reach an agreement at last month’s summit between the US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, tension has been building between the two sides, threatening the negotiations that they have built over the past year. While the breakdown of their second meeting did not lead to a war of words, North Korea said it was considering suspending talks with the United States, while Washington accused Pyongyang of “not doing what it needs to do.” The communist leader warned in his New Year’s speech this year he would have to find a new way for defending the North if the US did not keep its promises. As the US appears to have no intention of taking the “commensurate measures” the North seeks for the denuclearization steps it has taken, speculation has grown as to whether


By The Korea Herald
March 20, 2019