June 02, 2023

Pivot to Beijing? Kim Jong Un’s play for economic stability after Hanoi

Fresh from failure in Vietnam, the North Korean leader can take comfort in warming Sino-DPRK ties

The conclusion of the Hanoi summit gave for some the appearance of a process that has pinwheeled out of control. No joint statement, no peace declaration, no tangible steps on denuclearization, and no clear roadmap for the timing and structure of future talks.

But from the North Korean standpoint, the status quo is sustainable in the short term, and there is certainly a plan in place -- and increased trade and interaction with China is at the core of that plan.