May 31, 2023

The China factor: Why should “enemy” Xi help Trump’s pet North Korea project?

Disputes concerning trade, Hong Kong, and Taiwan give PRC little reason to cooperate on DPRK issues

After a very rocky start on his North Korea diplomacy, including a bombastic speech before the UN General Assembly in September 2017 where he declared that “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission,” President Trump had a sudden change of heart.

By the fall of 2018, Trump was singing a decidedly different tune, even declaring to an American audience that he and his odd couple North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un had “fallen in love” at their Singapore summit. The President had apparently come to the delayed realization that the path to any major diplomatic legacy for himself, similar to a Nixon-Mao or Reagan-Gorbachev moment, lay along the road to Pyongyang.