For the first time since he chose to engage with the world, North Korea's Kim Jong Un has proposed a possible timeline for ridding the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons: by the end of President US Donald Trump's first term in office.
But even as his message, conveyed by South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong on Thursday, was delivered, the US was still waiting on meaningful and verifiable action from the formerly reclusive leader.
Chung was part of a South Korean delegation that crossed the border into North Korea on Wednesday and met with Kim. There was at least one demonstrable outcome from this trip: a date for the next inter-Korean summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, September 18 to 20 in Pyongyang.
It's an auspicious time for the Hermit Kingdom. On Sunday it will mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled. President Trump canceled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's planned trip last month, citing little evidence that North Korea had come through on any of its commitments to denuclearize.
The task of bringing the two sides back together will again fall to President Moon, who has served as an intermediary, and who has made peace with the North his greatest mission as South Korea's leader.
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