The June 12 summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was a watershed moment in relations between Washington and Pyongyang. But, the more immediate and profound impact will be felt in East Asia, where North Korea’s nuclear program has threatened regional stability and security. While South Korea, China and Japan have different—sometimes starkly so—interests and positions vis-à-vis North Korea, all three of the Asian powers will be important players in efforts to implement the pledges made in Singapore. USIP’s Ambassador Joseph Yun, Jennifer Staats and Frank Aum discuss the implications for Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo.
Despite widespread recognition that the only way toward ending the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is a negotiated settlement, understanding of the Taliban’s thinking on the subject is remarkably scant. This report attempts to fill this gap by drawing on face-to-face interviews with Taliban foot soldiers, field commanders, and supporters to better understand the movement’s views on why they are fighting, what issues are negotiable, whether they have faith in negotiation as a way to peace, and what a peace process might look like.
The gunfire and explosions of Afghanistan’s war are to fall silent this weekend for the first time since U.S. troops entered the country nearly 17 years ago. That is because the Taliban leadership has...
Following the June 12 summit in Singapore between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, the U.S. Institute of Peace asked North Korea experts Stephen Rademaker and Frank Aum whether the world is safer because of the summit and what differences—if any—there are between the pledges made in Singapore and previous agreements.
As neighbors with a 585-mile frontier, Iran and Afghanistan have connections spanning centuries. Since 1979—the year of Iran’s revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—relations between Tehran and Kabul have ebbed and flowed. USIP’s Scott Worden discusses the complex relationship between the two countries, how Iran has built influence there, and where the U.S. and Iranian interests have overlapped in relation to Kabul.
The Government of Afghanistan on June 7 offered a unilateral, week-long cease-fire to the Taliban beginning June 12, in observance of the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Of course, a cease-fire is not a peace agreement, but it can lead to one.
A temporary cease-fire between the Afghan government and the Taliban to mark the end of Ramadan may offer an opportunity to pursue a more ambitious political solution to end the conflict in Afghanistan, says USIP’s Scott Worden. While there is a chance that the cease-fire—the first since the war began in 2001—will be fleeting, as cease-fires are fragile by nature, it is an important trust-building measure. Combined with Afghanistan’s neighbors recently expressing their desire for an end to the stalemate, the cease-fire could be the first step to a more enduring peace.
In a reversal of past policy, Burma’s government last week signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United Nations to facilitate the repatriation of Rohingya refugees back to Burma. This unexpected move builds on the momentum established last month, when Burma hosted a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) delegation and invited the U.N. to assist in the repatriation of the Rohingya and the rehabilitation of Rakhine state.
At the end of May, after only four days, South Sudan’s long-delayed peace talks once again adjourned without reaching a viable agreement. The failure to reach a deal comes only weeks after the White House declared that the Government of South Sudan had “lost credibility,” expressed deep frustration at the “lack of progress toward an agreement,” and warned that “more than seven million people will face life-threatening hunger in the coming months,” as a result of the crisis.
Just days out from the historic U.S. – North Korea Summit, Frank Aum reflects on pitfalls that previous administrations struggled with, and shares his thoughts about the Trump administration’s approac...