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.


The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the 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

Diplomacy

Trump again cites questionable numbers related to Korea trade deal

Trump has used the trade deal to bolster his credentials back home. US President Donald Trump again cited questionable numbers on Tuesday as he touted his administration’s renegotiated free trade agreement with South Korea. Trump told the Economic Club of New York that the revised FTA, which took effect early this year, doubled the number of American cars that can be sold in South Korea under US standards and extended American tariffs on Korean pickup trucks by another 20 years to 2041. He then took a swipe at the previous administration of Barack Obama, which negotiated the original agreement. “The deal from the previous admini


By The Korea Herald
November 13, 2019

Diplomacy

Uncertainty persists on US – China trade deal

This despite Trump’s comments that US and China close to trade deal. US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday (Nov 12) that the United States and China are close to a trade deal, but made clear that the prospect of tariffs was still on the table, with a warning that the US would raise tariffs on China if no trade deal was reached. His speech at the Economic Club of New York was closely watched by Wall Street but offered no new details on any signing of a much-touted “Phase One” preliminary trade deal with China. China, said President Trump, was dying to make a deal with their “supply chains cracking very badly” almost two years into the trade war. “We’re the ones deciding whether or not we want t


By The Straits Times
November 13, 2019

Diplomacy

India should have signed up for RCEP

India has decided to put a halt on its joining the largest planned free trade area. Had India not pulled out at the last minute from signing the deal during the 3rd summit of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Bangkok on November 4, the RCEP would have been the largest free trade area in the world so far—comprising of 16 Asia Pacific countries that house 3.4 billion people, and constituting one-third of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and 40 percent of global trade. Ten member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) along with Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea fo


By The Kathmandu Post
November 13, 2019

Diplomacy

Myanmar sued for genocide

On behalf of OIC, Gambia files the case at Int’l Court of Justice seeking orders to stop atrocities on Rohingyas immediately.  The Gambia has filed a case at the United Nations’ top court, accusing Myanmar of committing genocide against its Rohingya Muslim minority, more than two years after some 750,000 Rohingyas fled a military crackdown in the Rakhine State. “We have just submitted our application to the ICJ under the Genocide Convention,” Gambian Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said at a news conference yesterday in The Hague, where the court is based. “The aim is to get Myanmar to account for its action against its own people: the Rohingya. It is a shame for our generation that we do nothing while genocide is unfolding right under our own eyes,” he said. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, is the U


By Daily Star
November 12, 2019

Diplomacy

S. Korea open to settling spat with Japan over intel-sharing pact if relations improve

Intelligence sharing has been suspended since an economic spat between the two countries erupted several months ago. President Moon Jae-in’s top security adviser reaffirmed Sunday that South Korea’s bilateral military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan could be renewed, as the expiration date draws near. Chung Eui-yong, chief of Cheong Wa Dae’s National Security Office, laid the blame on Japan for the strained relations, which have sunk to their lowest point in decades. “The government is willing to rethink an extension of the GSOMIA if South Korea-Japan relations normalize,” he said during a press briefing on Sunday, referring to the


By The Korea Herald
November 11, 2019

Diplomacy

US slams Myanmar over inaction

Myanmar has done little for the repatriation of Rohingyas. The US has condemned Myanmar’s inaction in creating conditions conducive to  a voluntary, safe and dignified return of the Rohingyas. In a statement following a visit by two top US officials to Bangladesh between November 5-7, the country also underscored that it would continue its efforts to bring an end to the refugee crisis. USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick and Acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice G Wells travelled here to promote expanded US-Bangladesh bilateral relations, boost commercial and security ties, and address the ongoing Rohingya crisis, according to a statement released by the US embassy in Dhaka. During their time in Bangladesh, the duo visited Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, home to some one million Rohingyas, including some 750,000 who fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar since August 2017.


By Daily Star
November 8, 2019