What to Expect at the Second North Korea Summit

Trump, Kim, and the Dangers of Bromance Diplomacy

Trump and Kim during their first meeting in Singapore, June 2018 Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

As U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un geared up for a historic face-to-face meeting in Singapore last June, one question loomed large: Would the two return to the bluster that had characterized their relationship in 2017? That year, a steady drumbeat of North Korean nuclear and missile tests had prompted the United States to talk of “bloody nose” military strikes to compel Kim to denuclearize.

The Singapore summit was neither a major success nor an unqualified disaster. The leaders issued a joint statement that committed North Korea to a vaguer pledge—“to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”—than those it had made on the same issue in 2005 and 2007. Photos of Trump and Kim shaking hands in front of U.S. and North Korean flags lent one of the world’s most brutal regimes unwarranted legitimacy. And without giving Seoul advance notice, Trump

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