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1. Rapidly-Changing US-N. Korea Ties: From Summit of the Century to N. Korea’s Repeated Missile Launches


While there were expectations for a dramatic development on the Korean Peninsula as the leaders of the U.S. and North Korea met for the second time in Hanoi in February, the breakdown of the talks led to deepened discord between the two sides, similar to a situation two years ago.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met from February 27 to 28 in Vietnam, Hanoi. Their talks, however, ended abruptly without progress after the leaders failed to narrow differences between Washington’s ‘Big Deal’ of package settlement and the Pyongyang-proposed ‘phased’ agreement and implementation.

During his speech at the Supreme People’s Assembly in April, Kim adopted policies for economic development based on self-rehabilitation, declaring Pyongyang will no longer rely on sanctions relief. The North also self-declared a year-end deadline for the U.S. to come to negotiations with a ‘new calculation method.’

Since May, North Korea has conducted a series of provocations, including tests of short-range missiles, super-large multiple rocket launchers and submarine-launched ballistic missiles(SLBMs).

Amid the provocations, Trump and Kim held an impromptu meeting at the truce village of Panmunjeom in June, and the two sides held working-level negotiations in Sweden in October, all to no avail.

In early December, Pyongyang said it had conducted an ‘important test,’ presumed to be an engine test for an intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM), and threatened of another provocation as a ‘Christmas gift’ for Washington. The U.S., in response, has heightened surveillance over the North, warning it will face severe consequences should it push ahead with a long-range missile or ICBM test.

Photo : KBS News

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