It’s time for both the United States and North Korea to empower their working-level diplomats so that the two countries can build trust and verify intentions.
While U.S. president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are unlikely to ever agree on why their talks in Hanoi broke down, the abbreviated timeframe for preparatory meetings did not help. Working-level talks between the two countries didn’t begin in earnest until the summit was announced, and U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun didn’t meet his North Korean counterpart until roughly a month before the summit. Regardless of whether there is a deal to be had or leader-to-leader meetings are needed to reach that deal, it is clear there hasn’t been enough support for working-level negotiations.
The above excerpt was originally published in The National Interest.
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