Advertisement
Features

North Korea wavers over nuclear talks

Kim Jong-un's wavering over nuclear talks with the US could be bluff or it could be cold feet. But it's too early to write the summit off yet.

896_MW_P09_P&E_bottom
Kim Jong-un: erratic as ever

"Welcome, President Trump, to the infuriating, indecipherable game of North Korean nuclear diplomacy," says CNN's Stephen Collinson. An "unexpected series of threats" has "threatened to nix next month's planned summit in Singapore between Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un". Kim lashed out at US-South Korea military drills, cancelled a high-level meeting with South Korean officials, and warned that there was "little point" in the US summit if the White House was going to require its nuclear arsenal to be dismantled "up front".

Advertisement - Article continues below

North Korea's wavering is a reminder that "even dictators get cold feet", says Gerry Mullany in The New York Times. It also reflects a familiar North Korean pattern of "diplomatic outreach" followed by erratic behaviour and, frequently, "outright rejection of peace overtures". Something similar happened in 2005 and 2009.

It could also be a bluff, says Charlie Campbell on Time. Like his father and grandfather, Kim excels at brinkmanship "alternating between threats and conciliatory gestures to eke out concessions". Pyongyang may not wish to appear "too much of a cheap date". Kim may also be mirroring Trump, who said he would "respectfully leave" talks if he didn't like the way they were going.

It's too early to write off the summit, says Michael McGough in the LA Times, but it is a timely reminder that it's too soon for Trump to boast of "succeeding where his predecessors have failed". The best response would be for Trump to keep his Twitter silence "unrealistic" as it may be to hope for some presidential self-control.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

How long can the good times roll?
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
If companies have too much power, we need more competition, not higher taxes
US Economy

If companies have too much power, we need more competition, not higher taxes

Free-market capitalism is breaking down and that is going to lead to higher taxes down the line. John Stepek explains why that matters for investors.
11 Aug 2020
The charts that matter: precious metals, longevity and a cure for baldness
Global Economy

The charts that matter: precious metals, longevity and a cure for baldness

As the gold price presses on to new highs, John Stepek looks at he charts that matter most to the global economy.
8 Aug 2020
South Africa faces a big economic storm
Emerging markets

South Africa faces a big economic storm

Recession hit South Africa has been the fifth-worst hit country in the world measured by the number of coronavirus cases. The local stockmarket has so…
7 Aug 2020

Most Popular

Eagle Lightweight GT: the reincarnation of the E-type Jag
Toys and gadgets

Eagle Lightweight GT: the reincarnation of the E-type Jag

Jaguar’s classic E-type sports car has been reinvented for the modern age. The result – the Eagle Lightweight GT – is a thing of beauty.
7 Aug 2020
Platinum: the precious metal that looks set to play catch-up with silver and gold
Silver and other precious metals

Platinum: the precious metal that looks set to play catch-up with silver and gold

Gold and silver continue to soar, but there's still time to get in. And there's another precious metal that looks set to go on a bull run too, says Jo…
7 Aug 2020
UK house prices hit a new record high – can it last?
House prices

UK house prices hit a new record high – can it last?

Despite the pandemic, UK house prices have hit a new high. John Stepek looks at what’s driving the surge in prices, and what it means for house prices…
7 Aug 2020