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America Must Support South Korea’s Diplomacy

Ahead of the third summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, author Abigail Bard weighs the difficult task ahead for Washington: supporting South Korea's autonomy while working toward denuclearization of the peninsula.

While U.S.-North Korea negotiations have hit a standstill, inter-Korea relations are forging ahead with a third summit between South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un set for September 18–20 in Pyongyang. As South Korea makes it clear that it doesn’t need U.S. permission to engage with its neighbor, America needs to be supportive of these efforts that can keep tensions on the peninsula low to create space for U.S.-North Korea diplomatic maneuvers.

The United States and North Korea are in a diplomatic deadlock, the current impasse rooted in disagreements over next steps: America wants North Korea to declare the details of its nuclear program, while North Korea wants a declaration of the end of the Korean War. On August 24, President Trump canceled a planned end-of-August trip to North Korea by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and by the new special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun. When making the announcement, Trump cited a lack of progress on denuclearization. The two countries seem to be incapable of moving issues forward, even if President Trump insists that things are peachy-keen.

The above excerpt was originally published in The National Interest. Click here to view the full article.

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Abigail Bard

Former Policy Analyst, Asia