Nuclear Proliferation/Non-proliferation

North Korea Summit: Historic Deal or Just a Historic Handshake?

With a handshake, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un made history, becoming the first sitting leaders of the Korean War foes to hold a summit. But was it just a photo op?

In this Ground Truth Briefing, Wilson Center experts considered whether the Singapore summit yielded real progress on denuclearization; the impact of these developments on U.S. diplomacy with other countries; China’s reaction; how the lives of average North Koreans could be affected; and what’s next in what President Trump calls “a new chapter” in U.S.-North Korea relations.

 

President Trump's Approaches to the Singapore Summit

There are basically three ways President Trump may approach his summit with Kim Jong Un:

He can issue an ultimatum: say that North Korea must completely denuclearize, allow international inspectors to verify their denuclearization, and do it in a permanent way, or else the United States would pursue a strategy to change his regime and/or use military force.

A Historic Handshake

There’s no denying it: This was a historic handshake. It’s the first time the leaders of North Korea and the United States — two countries that remain locked in a state of war — have held a summit. 

To see President Trump and Kim Jong Un shaking hands warmly and chatting so easily was both stunning and chilling. It’s a powerful moment that augers a change in the tense relationship between these two countries. But it also legitimizes the path Kim took to get here: Building and testing illicit nuclear weapons that have the potential to wreak unimaginable destruction.

Singapore Center Stage

There was something inevitable about the choice of Singapore as a venue for the U.S.-North Korean Summit. Still, it was not a given. The Chinese wanted the event in China. Both Koreas reportedly wanted to revisit the Kim-Moon Summit venue at the DMZ. President Trump was enamored with the show biz potential of the DMZ but was finally persuaded that he should not be seen as visiting Kim on his turf. Another potential venue, Ulan Bator in Mongolia, was too far from the center ring of international media attention.

'America Alone' on the Iran Nuclear Deal?

Does President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal mean "America first" or "America alone"? What will be the immediate and long range implications?  Robert Litwak, Senior Vice President and Director of International Security Studies at the Wilson Center, provides analysis in this edition of TRENDING.

Why 'Singapore Makes Sense' for U.S.–North Korea Summit

In this edition of TRENDING, Jean Lee, the director of the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy, explains why "Singapore makes sense" as the host city for the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit.

Guest:
Jean Lee
Director, Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy, Wilson Center

Wilson Center Experts Offer Critical Insight on Iran Nuclear Deal

Following President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, Wilson Center experts with  deep knowledge of nuclear negotiations, Iran and regional dynamics, and U.S. foreign policy are available for interviews and briefings.

Contact Ryan McKenna, Media Relations Manager, at (202) 691-4217 or ryan.mckenna@wilsoncenter.org.

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