One year after the Singapore Summit—which brought together Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un for the first-ever meeting of a sitting U.S. president and North Korean leader—negotiations seem to have stalled. And yet, despite the failure of the second summit in Hanoi and the resumption of missile tests by Kim Jong Un, there is still a window of opportunity for a deal. But that window won’t last forever.
The past two years of U.S.-North Korea relations have been a rollercoaster ride. After months of missile tests by North Korea and genuine concerns that the Trump administration might launch military strikes in 2017, events took an abrupt turn in 2018 when North Korea and South Korea began diplomacy and Donald Trump announced that he would meet with Kim Jong Un. While the Singapore Summit did not yield much substance, many were hopeful that it would start a process. That process never materialized as North Korean negotiators evaded their U.S. counterparts, avoiding the difficult negotiations necessary to make progress. The Hanoi Summit—which ended abruptly when it became clear the two leaders were on different pages—was the natural result of this faulty process.This article was originally published in The Diplomat.