Features

Peace with Kim – the least bad option

Accepting Kim Jong-un's offer for nuclear disarmament may be naive, but it's the best option on the table.

914-kim-634

Kim: promising concessions

Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, has offered to "permanently dismantle" his country's main nuclear site, but only if the US reciprocates, possibly by declaring a formal end to the 1950-1953 Korean War, says Choe Sang-Hun in The New York Times.

He offered the concession during a three-day summit in Pyongyang with the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in. The leaders also agreed to open rail links and jointly bid for the 2032 summer Olympics, says Benjamin Haas in The Guardian. Kim added that he would visit Seoul; a first for a North Korean leader.

Kim's offer may not amount to much, says Richard Lloyd Parry in The Times. Yes, "the dismantling of a missile testing site in front of international inspectors would be spectacular" but Kim has his missiles and "doesn't need the site any more". His promises about the Yongbyon facilities are "similarly ambiguous".

Moon's embrace of Kim is causing "disquiet" within the US administration, among South Korean conservatives and in Japan, America's other ally, says Simon Denyer in The Washington Post. Moon's view is that it is "only by building trust" that Kim will be persuaded to denuclearise.

This contrasts sharply with the "maximum pressure" stance of the Trump administration, which is that Kim must take action before US largesse can "kick in". Moon's cheerleading efforts also "often sidestep the fact that Kim still leads the world's most repressive totalitarian regime".

Yet Trump, like Moon, also appears to be betting that the "corpulent dictator" is a reformist, says Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times. Last week he accepted an invitation to another summit with Kim, proclaiming on Twitter that they would "prove everyone wrong". Given the prospect of war between two nuclear-armed states just last year, it is no wonder that Moon is doing all he can. It may "be a nave, long-odds bet". But it is "preferable to the alternative."

Recommended

The charts that matter: bond investors feel the pain
Global Economy

The charts that matter: bond investors feel the pain

In a week when Germany had to start paying to borrow money again, we take a look at how the charts that matter most to the global economy have fared.
20 Feb 2021
Hamish Baillie: successful investing in a post-pandemic world
Investment strategy

Hamish Baillie: successful investing in a post-pandemic world

Merryn talks to Ruffer's Hamish Baillie about why traditional investment portfolios may no longer work in a post-Covid landscape, and why in this new …
19 Feb 2021
The reflation trade has further to run
Inflation

The reflation trade has further to run

Investors have piled into assets that stand to gain from a global recovery. And while there may be little evidence of inflation as yet, it will come; …
19 Feb 2021
Is bitcoin’s huge price rise the canary in the global coal mine?
Bitcoin

Is bitcoin’s huge price rise the canary in the global coal mine?

The price of bitcoin has surpassed $50,000 for the first time, as institutional adoption makes it an increasingly mainstream asset. But could its huge…
18 Feb 2021

Most Popular

Which assets do best when inflation is rising?
Inflation

Which assets do best when inflation is rising?

As markets look forward to a post-pandemic bounce, they’re also starting to worry about higher inflation. John Stepek looks at the best way to divers…
22 Feb 2021
The days when you could get 7% from your bank are long gone – so what do you do?
Bitcoin

The days when you could get 7% from your bank are long gone – so what do you do?

With interest rates at rock bottom for so long, we’ve been forced to move from saving to speculating to earn any sort of return. Dominic Frisby asks w…
24 Feb 2021
Why you should still put money into a cash Isa
Cash ISAs

Why you should still put money into a cash Isa

Interest rates may be lousy, but tax-free saving into a cash Isa is still a good idea.
23 Feb 2021