Amid a series of positive developments in the Afghan peace process over the last year, a framework for negotiations reached between the U.S. and Taliban has renewed hope that the 17 year-old Afghan conflict could come to a close. Led by Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. has agreed in principle to a conditional withdraw of U.S. and allied troops in exchange for the Taliban pledging to not allow Afghanistan to be a safe haven for transnational terrorists, like al-Qaida, as well as agreeing to talks that include the Afghan government and a cease-fire. Despite this progress, “We are in the early stages of a protracted process,” Ambassador Khalilzad said at the U.S. Institute of Peace on February 8. “We have a long way to go.”
At the State of the Union address this week, President Trump announced that he will again meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the end of February in Vietnam for their second face-to-face negotiations. The president’s announcement follows recent comments from U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun indicating that the U.S. is prepared to negotiate on both denuclearization and peace simultaneously—an approach that the Trump and former administrations previously eschewed. USIP’s North Korea and China experts examine the potential shift in U.S. policy and what concerns key regional players have over the next summit.
After years of stalemate, a framework deal between the U.S. and the Taliban has inspired hope that the Afghan war—the longest in U.S. history—could come to an end. USIP’s Scott Worden analyzes the progress made in recent talks, why the U.S. is now directly negotiating with the Taliban and the implications of further negotiations and a potential peace deal on Afghanistan’s 2019 presidential election.
With the diplomatic process between the U.S. and North Korea at a stalemate, Ambassador Joseph Yun discusses the key takeaways from this week’s inter-Korean summit and the improvement in North-South relations. For Washington and Pyongyang to move forward, Yun says the two sides need to first agree on a definition of, and process for, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Since the Singapore Summit, Washington and Pyongyang have been mired in a stalemate over the sequencing of an end of war declaration and North Korea’s disarmament. Yet, even after the cancellation of Secretary Pompeo’s visit, USIP’s Frank Aum says talks will likely continue, as both sides are invested in a successful outcome.
Frank Aum looks at the ramifications of the cancellation of Secretary of State Pompeo's trip to North Korea and what it could signal about U.S. policy moving forward.
Following a series of positive developments in recent months, could the Trump administration’s decision to pursue direct talks with the Taliban revive the moribund peace process? U.S. Institute of Peace Senior Expert Johnny Walsh discusses the significance of this move and what we can expect from any potential negotiations.
After a series of disquieting meetings with European and NATO allies last week, President Trump met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a bid to restore relations between Washington and Moscow. In the lead up to summit, President Trump sought to temper expectations, but repeatedly affirmed his longstanding belief that improved relations with Russia would be beneficial for U.S. interests. With so many high-stake issues for the two to discuss—ranging from Ukraine to Syria and arms control to Russian meddling in U.S. and European democratic processes—it remains to be seen if the summit will lead to further rapprochement.
Following a meeting between U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and President Vladimir Putin this week, the White House announced that President Trump will sit down with his Russian counterpart for their first formal summit on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland. While both presidents Trump and Putin have repeatedly emphasized the need for improved ties, there are a host of contentious issues—such as the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent U.S. sanctions, Russia’s interference in U.S. and European elections, and the Syrian civil war—that could derail the effort to improve the bilateral relationship.
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.