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South Korea Can Save the Nuclear Talks

After Hanoi, Back to Seoul

Trump and Kim shake hands at the start of the summit in Hanoi, March 2019. KCNA

The failure of the U.S.-North Korean summit in Hanoi has put diplomacy on the back foot. Even a small deal would have been better than no deal at all. But the “maximum engagement” strategy that U.S. President Donald Trump initiated a year ago remains the best approach. For the first time in a decade, when it comes to U.S.-North Korean relations, the arrows are pointing in the right direction: toward reduced risks, confidence building, political normalization, economic integration, and, in the end, denuclearization and peace. The United States, South Korea, and North Korea need to keep the process going. After a failed summit attempt, you can’t hide in your tent. You wait out the bad weather, and then start climbing again.

Disappointment over Hanoi should not obscure an encouraging fact: for the first time in a long while, the governments of the United States

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