Diplomacy and North Korea

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Hopes were high at the start of 2019 that a diplomatic solution to the protracted North Korean nuclear crisis was finally within reach. The previous June, following his historic first meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, United States President Donald Trump tweeted triumphantly that everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office because there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. 1 Kim was equally effusive in his January 2019 New Years address, saying that the Singapore summit had occasioned a dramatic turn in the bilateral relationship which was the most hostile on the earth and that it had made a great contribution to ensuring peace and security of the Korean peninsula and the region. 2 Meanwhile, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha described 2019 as the starting year for a full-fledged Korean Peninsula peace process. 3 But a year can make a big difference. As 2019 was drawing to a close, Kim ascended Mount Paektu astride a white horse. Internationally, the media greeted this latest propaganda stunt with ridicule. But serious Korea-watchers expressed anxiety. 4 Kims gesture was rich in symbolism. The mountain is reportedly the birthplace of Kims father, Kim Jong-il. It is where Kims grandfather, Kim Il-sung, is said to have ridden a white horse while fighting the Japanese. Some commentators suggested that Kim was attempting to associate himself with the ancient warrior kings of Korea, who also rode white stallions. 5 Most significantly of all, however, Kim has visited Mount Paektu prior to every one of his major policy decisions. Moreover, Kim had for months been proposing a foreboding end-of-year deadline for resolving the protracted Korea crisis. Hence, as Kim rode up his nations tallest peak and with the deadline fast approaching, diplomacy seemed to hang in the balance and face a highly uncertain future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAsia-Pacific Regional Security Assessment 2020
    EditorsDr Tim Huxley, Dr Lynn Kuok, Dr William Choong
    Place of PublicationLondon United Kingdom
    PublisherThe International Institute for Strategic Studies
    ISBN (Print)978-0-86079-220-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    Dive into the research topics of 'Diplomacy and North Korea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this