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A reality check on Korea nuclear talks

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When President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in first agreed to meet in Washington Tuesday, they seemed to genuinely believe they might be on the brink of a major rapprochement with the North. Now, there are concerns over whether the much-touted summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un scheduled for Singapore on June 12 will happen at all.

With hindsight, Pyongyang’s announcement last week that it might pull out of the meeting should have been less of a surprise. North Korea has spent decades using similar tactics to shape the diplomatic agenda with the South and Washington, raising hopes of a breakthrough – then sparking a crisis and moving the goal posts.

It’s still less than a month since Moon and Kim engaged in what appeared a successful summit in the demilitarized zone, both pledging to work towards the complete denuclearization of the peninsula. Last week, however, Pyongyang furiously denounced Washington for demanding the North’s unilateral disarmament, particularly as a precondition for potential U.S. economic aid.

Most likely, the June 12 encounter will still go ahead – Kim and Trump each appear fascinated by the prospect of meeting one other, and for both the summit itself will be seen as a significant diplomatic victory. What does seem increasingly clear, however, is that the sort of breakthrough some in the White House had hoped for........

© Japan Today