The surprise visit to Beijing by North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un could offer both Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping stronger hands for upcoming discussions with the United States, says USIP analyst Frank Aum. As news of the meeting broke, Aum, who previously advised the U.S. Defense Department on Korea issues, discussed its implications.
Last week’s “sports diplomacy” between South and North Korean negotiators—the first direct dialogue in more than two years—was a good first step in reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea’s participation in next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, along with news that the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises will be delayed until late April, has produced a rare window of opportunity for diplomatic progress.
North Korea has advanced weapons of mass destruction programs but poor WMD security, and tensions in the region are growing in response to increasing brinkmanship between Pyongyang and Washington. This report identifies the major challenges...