“In this political environment, it is difficult to see how the United States and North Korea prevent talks from deteriorating into a negative loop of provocation and reaction.”
For North Korea watchers, February ended in confusion as U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un both departed from their second summit empty-handed. While information is still trickling in about what happened in Hanoi, the common thread seems to be that both sides overplayed their hands. Leading up to the summit, an interim deal seemed likely and would have provided an opportunity for both sides to test each other on a modest agenda and start to build a track record of implementation and trust. Who first upped the ante on that modest deal is unclear, but where the two sides ended up has essentially set us back to square one in the negotiation process.
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