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Two months later, the real winner of Trump-Kim summit emerges

12 0 24

After peaking two months ago with the Singapore Summit, hopes for a peaceful resolution of the long-running North Korea nuclear crisis have sunk into the mire of political and historical obstacles. Before 2018, outsiders knew North Korea as a failing and anachronistic political and economic system that had repeatedly cheated its seemingly long-overdue death through a foreign policy of intimidation, stubbornness, playing adversaries against each other, and occasional flashes of conciliation that usually proved insincere.

Despite what looked like an emerging breakthrough based on an unexpected participation in the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea and the improbable meeting between leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump, North Korea increasingly looks like its old self.

Before this year, Pyongyang was in dire straits. The US government was openly considering a military attack on its missile and nuclear bomb infrastructure. The country’s relationship with China was severely strained; Kim had not even met Xi Jinping. China was enforcing the economic sanctions against North Korea with unprecedented diligence, causing noticeable hardship. Although South Korea had a new government that might be willing to restore economic cooperation with the North, the spike in tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes was an obstacle to a rapprochement with Seoul.

Kim reversed this situation by........

© South China Morning Post