See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

Trump-Xi meeting at G-20 a pivotal factor for North Korean nuclear talks

Talks have stalled since a botched summit in Vietnam.


Written by

Updated: June 25, 2019

Positive signals sent back and forth between the US and North Korea are feeding hopes for a swift resumption of nuclear negotiations that have been at a standstill since the last summit between the two countries ended without results in late February.

Within the past two weeks, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un each disclosed that they had received letters from each other, with both expressing satisfaction and hinting that the letters might be a sign of positive developments in the nuclear talks.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington was ready to hold working-level discussions with Pyongyang on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

“We’re ready to go, we’re literally prepared to go at a moment’s notice if the North Koreans indicate that they’re prepared for those discussions,” he said.

He said he hopes the letter Trump sent Kim can pave the way for more talks, saying the response from the North suggests there is “a very good possibility” of meetings between the two sides.

His remarks came hours after the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim would “seriously contemplate the interesting content” included in the letter from Trump. The letter is believed to be a reply to Kim’s earlier letter to Trump, which on June 11 the US president described as “beautiful and warm.”

Experts here speculate that Kim, who prefers a top-down approach to negotiations, may have suggested a third US-North Korea summit in Pyongyang or Panmunjom in his letter, and Trump, in response, may have said that working-level negotiations are needed in order to prevent another setback in the nuclear talks.

“The leaders’ willingness is quite strong to recover from the shock of the Hanoi summit and to move the denuclearization talks forward in earnest in the second half of this year. A mood will be created before and after the G-20 summit,” said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University.

US-North Korea talks stalled after a failed summit in February between Trump and Kim in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Creating an encouraging environment for North Korea to return to the negotiating table are diplomatic events planned for later this week here and in Japan that provide the North with a the chance to meet the US leader as well as nuclear negotiators, even on short notice.

Trump will pay a two-day state visit to South Korea with Secretary of State Pompeo from Saturday evening after attending the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Friday and Saturday. US chief nuclear negotiator Stephen Biegun is expected to arrive here as soon as Wednesday.

Restarting negotiations with Pyongyang before the G-20 summit is beneficial for Washington, said Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

The US could harness it as a way to tout its influence over the North, especially to China, in order to gain leverage at the upcoming G-20 summit in Japan, where Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will discuss their ongoing trade war.

Trump is under pressure as Xi could have obtained concessions on denuclearization from the North Korean leader during his first official trip to Pyongyang last week.

“While talking with the US, China might be wishing to show off that it has produced certain outcomes on North Korean issues. For the US, hard evidence that it has the upper hand on Pyongyang would be working-level negotiations with the North before the G-20 summit takes place,” Kim said.

Park Won-gon, a professor of international politics at Handong Global University, said a working-level meeting is likely to come after the G-20 meeting, as the North would want to monitor possible changes in the political dynamics between the US and China before making any decision.

“What the North is paying attention to is how the relationship between the US and China will be determined at the G-20 summit,” he said.

If Washington and China reach a consensus on a path to solving the trade dispute, Pyongyang will bank on the resumption of nuclear talks with the US. On the other hand, if their trade tensions escalate, North Korea will play for more time as the possibility of China supporting the regime will likely increase, according to Park.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: ANN’s Board member Mr Zaffar Abbas, Editor of Pakistan’s Dawn has won the 2019 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protest Journalists.

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

Diplomacy

Internet healthcare serving homebound patients in China

Online consultations, pharmaceutical deliveries play vital role during outbreak. One recent rainy day, Wu Hong was waiting at the gate of her residential community in Wuhan, Hubei province. When a deliveryman with a bag of medicine came into sight, she was greatly relieved. Wu’s mother-in-law is a breast-cancer patient and needs to take medicine regularly. Wu’s father suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and inhalers have been in short supply. As the novel coronavirus epidemic grew more serious, Wu wasn’t permitted to take her family to the hospital for drug refills. She was left in a state of restless anxiety. On Feb 26, Wu and her husband saw a news segment on TV saying that the Wuhan government had enabled online reimbursement se


By China Daily
March 13, 2020

Diplomacy

India’s Congress suffers setback after key leader defects to BJP

Move by Scindia and 22 legislators could trigger fall of Congress-led govt in central Madhya Pradesh state. The Congress has suffered a political setback following the resignation of Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia and 22 legislators in Madhya Pradesh state, deepening an existential crisis for a party that is struggling for political relevance in modern Indian politics. Mr Scindia, 49, an articulate leader, yesterday joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with legislators loyal to him expected to follow suit. The move could lead to the collapse of the Congress-led Madhya Pradesh government. That would give the BJP a chance to form the government in the Hindi heartland state, which is seen as key objective for


By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020

Diplomacy

Chinese Red Cross teams aid Iran’s COVID-19 fight

Humanitarian group to help Iranians with containment measures that worked in China. Voices on the other end of the line cut in and out due to a poor phone connection as officials at the Red Cross Society of China’s headquarters in Beijing attempted to talk to staff members on the ground in Iran on Tuesday morning. As the signal stabilised, the latest developments in controlling the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic in Teheran streamed into a conference room packed with Red Cross managers. Zhou Xiaohang, head of a five-member team-four medics and a Farsi interpreter sent to assist with COVID-19 control in Iran-said Iranians are increasingly taking precautions such as wearing face masks and washing their hands more often.


By China Daily
March 11, 2020

Diplomacy

Shortage of Masks, Handwash due to panic- buying: Leave some for everyone

Despite repeated calls by global and local health experts and warnings from government, panic-buying grips the country. Global health experts have warned against hoarding masks, handwash and sanitisers during the coronavirus outbreak as it could worsen the situation by depriving those who might need them. Despite this, panic-buying of these products in Dhaka has been triggered by news of the first confirmed coronavirus cases in the country. Across the capital, several pharmacies and superstores have been facing a shortage of masks, antiseptic liquids and sanitisers since Sunday afternoon. The demand for tissue papers has also almost doubled overnight, some retailers claimed. Many of the retail stores, super shops and pharmacies in Karwan Bazar, M


By Daily Star
March 10, 2020

Diplomacy

MH17 trial in Malaysia begins today

It was reported that MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile while flying over the conflict-hit eastern Ukraine. The trial will begin today. All eyes will be on the District Court of The Hague at the Schiphol Judicial Complex (JCS) in Badhoevedorp as the criminal proceeding against four men accused of shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 begins. It was reported that MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile while flying over the conflict-hit eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board, comprising 43 Malaysians, 193 Dutch nationals and 27 Australians, were killed. Members of the Malaysian media here to cover the start of the trial were given a briefing by press secretary for the judge, Yolande Wijnnobel, on what to expect at the start of the much-awai


By The Star
March 9, 2020

Diplomacy

OPINION: ‘Righteous’ women

So who is this ‘righteous’ woman that would never dare join Aurat Marchers? ‘TIS the season to be righteous, or so many prominent Pakistanis on TV and social media along with the religious right would have us believe. Pakistan suffers from hypocritical moral policing at the best of times — in homes, colleges and universities, places of religious worship, and the workplace — but the trigger for the current frenzy is the impending Aurat Marches in many cities of the country. Given that these marches only began three years ago, one can only marvel at how rapidly they have gotten under the proverbial skin of their highly agitated opponents. Enough has been said and written about the wider context of the marches and why they threaten the


By ANN Members
March 6, 2020