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.
The international media has been playing up difficulties between Tokyo and Seoul over a number of issues. Seoul is canceling the foundation set up by both countries in 2016 that promotes reconciliation and healing over the comfort women issue.
Taiwan’s economy strongly relies on exporting intermediate goods to China for final assembly. In the milieu of the escalating China-US trade war, if the US extends its tariff retaliation to ICT products, this could weigh down Taiwan’s export performance.
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.
Chinese President Xi Jinping highlighted the necessity and urgency to think about possible ways of political unification. This was widely considered as Xi’s public demonstration of his determination to resolve the Taiwan issue within his term as the Chinese leader.
The revised KORUS FTA was implemented on January 1, 2019. While South Korea made concessions on automobiles, steel and aluminum, the US only promised to ease Korean textile exports to America. The FTA can be a model for US trade deals with other Asian countries.