North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s surprise two-day visit to Beijing resets the negotiating table for the future of the Korean Peninsula. Kim’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping prior to other heads of state signaled that China will play a significant role in talks to denuclearize and bring a durable peace to the peninsula. To date, Kim has also lined up meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27 and U.S. President Donald Trump in May. Talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump appear to be in the works.
The only party conspicuously left out of these talks is Japan. Tokyo needs to send an unmistakable message to the United States that Japanese interests must also be represented in any bargaining with North Korea.
Tokyo has struggled to keep pace with the growing developments regarding North Korea over the past few months. The Japanese government only learned Trump would meet Kim after the president had already agreed to the invitation. While Tokyo is trying to establish its presence at these talks, it keeps getting pushed aside.
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