The Case for Optimism After the Trump-Kim Handshake Summit

Eric Gomez
Reuters

Eric Gomez

Security, Asia

If real progress is to be made, Washington must fundamentally transform its relationship with Pyongyang.

The Case for Optimism After the Trump-Kim Handshake Summit

President Donald Trump secured another historic first in U.S.-North Korea relations earlier today when he crossed into North Korean territory at Panmunjom before a brief meeting with Kim Jong-un. The impromptu meeting—planned in less than two days after Trump tweeted about wanting to meet with Kim—ended with an announcement that the two countries would restart working level talks in a bid to break the diplomatic impasse that has persisted since the failed Hanoi summit in late February.

Any “summit” arranged on such short notice is bound to contain more symbolism than substance, and many U.S. experts are rightly noting that today’s meeting has done little to move the needle toward denuclearization. However, looking at the handshake summit solely from the perspective of denuclearization misses other important aspects that increase the meeting’s significance when taken into account. 

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