The Foreign Service Journal, October 2019

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | OCTOBER 2019 25 nuclear device. That test is successful and erases ambiguity about whether North Korea had fully crossed the nuclear threshold. First bilateral meetings take place in December. 2011 n Kim Jong Un takes power in Pyongyang after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. 2012 n North Korean nuclear opera- tions are briefly suspended in exchange for a pledge of tons of food aid after months of negotiations. The deal breaks down within weeks when North Korea launches a long-range rocket. 2013-2014 n Diplomacy stalls as Wash- ington and its allies ratchet up sanctions. North Korea carries out nuclear tests and increases testing of ballistic missiles. 2017 n President Donald Trump redesig- nates North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism after Pyongyang conducts its sixth nuclear test. Pyongyang boasts it can reach U.S. soil with nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the Trump administration threatens a military strike. 2018 n March: South Korea’s national security adviser announces inWashing- ton that President Trump has accepted an invitation to meet Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang. This follows diplomatic over- tures between North and South spurred by theWinter Olympic Games, hosted by South Korea. 2018 n June 12: Kim and Trump hold a historic meeting in Singapore, issuing a joint declaration pledging to pursue last- ing peace and complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. 2019 n Feb. 27-28: Second Trump-Kim summit ends early without an agreement when leaders disagree over the terms of a deal, including sanctions relief and denuclearization. 2019 n June 30: President Trump becomes the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea when he steps across the border at Panmunjom to meet Kim; the two agree to restart stalled nuclear negotiations. Sources: Council on Foreign Relations, “North Korean Nuclear Negotiations, 1985–2019” and Arms Control Assoc iation, “Chronology of U.S.-North Korean Nuclear and Missile Diplomacy.” vide a roadmap to a phased, transactional deal. He preferred instead to try to engage President Trump directly, which led to another two summits without an implementable agreement. It appears Kim may have figured out that this tactical approach will not produce the type of technical agreement needed to address his concerns. The next step to look for is far less dramatic than the world has seen over the past eighteen months. Kim’s empowering of his diplomats and technical experts to meet their American counterparts is the necessary next step to tee up a deal on each side’s core demands that the leaders could endorse. Yet another dramatic summit may do more to capture the headlines, but it would almost certainly be for naught. The best hope for making another summit productive is for teams of technical experts on both sides to sit down to iron out a phased approach to denucle- arization, sanctions relief and a structured response to North Korea’s security concerns. That step alone would be far more newsworthy. n Patrick McEachern, North Korea: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2019) Anna Fifield, The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un (PublicAffairs, 2019) Sandra Fahy, Dying for Rights: Putting North Korea’s Human Rights Abuses on the Record (Columbia University Press, 2019) Van Jackson, On the Brink: Trump, Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War (Cambridge University Press, 2018) Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland, Hard Target: Sanctions, Inducements, and the Case of North Korea (Stanford University Press, 2017) Byung-Yeon Kim, Unveiling the North Korean Economy: Collapse and Transition (Cambridge University Press, 2017) Andrei Lankov, The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia (Oxford University Press, 2013) Victor Cha, The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (Ecco Press, 2012) Justin Hastings, AMost Enterprising Country: North Korea in the Global Economy (Cornell University Press, 2016) Resource List