Who Wants a Deal More: North Korea or the United States?

    Abby Bard

    Security, Asia

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the first enlarged meeting of the seventh Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang May 18, 2018. KCNA/via REUTERS

    While a recent tonal shift in North Korean statements is a jarring departure from the image Kim has been conveying for the past five months, diplomacy isn’t doomed yet.

    Just when the sailing seemed smooth as American president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speed toward their June 12 summit in Singapore, the seas are starting to get rough. On May 16, North Korea issued two statements that put the upcoming meeting on shaky ground. One stated, “the U.S. will have to think twice about the fate of the DPRK-U.S. summit,” because of the U.S.-South Korea Max Thunder military drills, which are taking place until May 25 and are seen as a violation of the Panmunjom Declaration from the inter-Korea summit. The other attacked National Security Advisor John Bolton and his call for a Libya-model of denuclearization, saying that if the U.S. is trying to force North Korea’s hand in “unilateral” denuclearization, the country, “will…reconsider our proceeding to the D.P.R.K.-U.S. summit.” While this might be a jarring tonal shift from the image Kim has been conveying for the past five months, diplomacy isn’t doomed yet. Here are a few takeaways from the statements.

    1. North Korea and the United States Are Not as Aligned as the United States Thinks They Are

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