U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet at the start of their summit at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore, June 2018.
Jonathan Ernst / REUTERS

Immediately after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a joint declaration at the end of last week’s summit in Singapore, I received a harsh assessment of the meeting from a conservative colleague in South Korea. In his view, the summit was “a total failure. They failed to agree on CVID [complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization]. It is a victory for North Korea.” Other experts in Seoul raised concerns about the future of the U.S.–South Korean alliance following Trump’s abrupt announcement that South Korean–U.S. “war games” would be suspended, as well as his decision not to raise the issue of human rights with Kim. In this sense, there is a paradoxical similarity between South Korean conservatives’ and the American liberal mainstream’s criticisms of Trump and his agreement with the North Korean leader.

Yet as South Korean President

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  • CHUNG-IN MOON is Special Adviser for Foreign Affairs and National Security to South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a Distinguished University Professor at Yonsei University.
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