North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects Chunghung farm in Samjiyon County, North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), July 2018. 

Two months ago, U.S. President Donald Trump held a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore. For Trump, the key aim of the meeting was to extract a commitment from Kim to “denuclearize,” which for Trump meant Kim unilaterally surrendering his nuclear weapons. For Kim, the aim of the summit was to shake Trump’s hand as an equal and as the leader of a nuclear power. It was also an attempt to take the air out of the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign by showing China and Russia that Kim was making a good-faith effort to negotiate with the United States. Kim had no intention of unilaterally surrendering his nuclear weapons, which he has called North Korea’s “treasured sword of justice,” and he never committed to do so.

Sixty days since that meeting, things are going well—for Kim. Although Trump is desperate to continue claiming that he “solved” the North Korean nuclear threat at Singapore, as many predicted, North Korea continues to expand its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals and has played its diplomatic hand brilliantly. It has burned a lot of time while taking largely cosmetic steps on its nuclear weapons

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  • ANKIT PANDA is Senior Editor at The Diplomat and Senior Fellow at the Federation of American Scientists. VIPIN NARANG is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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