Many had expected some form of peace deal to be inked at the end of the second Trump-Kim summit, but were disappointed when both leaders left without having lunch, sparking off worries that the breakdown was less than amicable.
A very distinguished unofficial “task force” of US-China experts has issued a rather alarming report regarding the China threat to US security overall and in the South China Sea in particular. The group suggests that the US pressures China to comply with “global norms”.
The second Trump-Kim summit is likely the last window of opportunity for real progress in the North Korea denuclearization drama and also in establishing the basis for an incremental normalization of relations between Washington and Pyongyang.
Given the first Trump-Kim summit’s lack of details on the denuclearization process, special attention should be given to the possible compromise between two sides such as the reciprocal responses from the US if North Korea is willing to close its nuclear facilities.
The announcement of Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi as the site of the second Trump-Kim summit has truly marked the Southeast Asian nation’s coming of age. It shows that Vietnam has truly come into prominence on the global stage.
US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson met with senior Chinese military leaders in Beijing in January 2019. The discussions focused primarily on how to manage increasingly dangerous encounters between vessels and aircraft of the two navies.
Since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office, Philippine relations with China have experienced a remarkable renaissance. Duterte’s accommodating policy towards the Chinese government has however caused increasing anxiety among the Filipino public.
There has recently been a resurgence of romantic proposals for a cooperative environmental protection regime in the Spratlys and the South China Sea as a confidence building precedent for cooperation on other more difficult matters.
Ahead of the second Trump-Kim summit, North Korea leader Kim Jong-un made a visit to Beijing between January 8-9, 2019. The North Koreans may be using this visit to pursue what Kim calls an “alternative path” in his New Year speech.