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One year on from Singapore: Will talks collapse or continue?

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16.06.2019

By Andrew Hammond

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday he is in "no rush" to make a deal with North Korea, on the one-year anniversary of the landmark Singapore summit, perhaps the U.S. administration's signature foreign policy initiative to date.

Amid much White House hype, the process has predictably failed to live up to its billing, with the talks just as likely to collapse completely than see a deal agreed, which could now have dangerous, unpredictable consequences.

The reason why this was ― potentially ― foreseeable is the significant expectation gap that emerged out of last June's event.

What was no more than a start to a potentially transformational, sustained strategic dialogue saw Trump, for instance, declaring that the "nuclear threat from North Korea is over," giving the impression that he had already completed the immensely complicated process of de-escalating tensions in the world's last Cold War-era frontier.

Going forward, Trump still appears outwardly optimistic about the process, insisting Kim Jong-un wants an agreement. Yet a significant part of this, however, rests on the president's inflated assessment of his personal abilities to broker a deal.

Beyond this self-deception, Trump remains very dependent on the shifting sands of the geopolitics of the Korean Peninsula turning in his favor again.

Here, despite assessments of the U.S. intelligence........

© The Korea Times