This past year, Kim Jong-un achieved foreign-policy breakthroughs long sought by his family’s regime through a combination of deft diplomacy, a burgeoning nuclear program, and low-level provocations against the United States and its allies. This has included inflammatory rhetoric, missile launches over Japanese airspace, and cyber-attacks on South Korean companies. There was, predictably, a pause in these provocations in the lead-up to the second Trump-Kim summit in February.
But in the aftermath of Hanoi, Pyongyang is likely to pivot away from a conciliatory tack with the United States. Just days after leader-level talks ground to halt, new evidence emerged suggesting that Pyongyang was rebuilding a missile launch site it had previously indicated it was dismantling. The lack of concerted response to such bad behaviors may ultimately solidify Pyongyang’s judgment that they are an effective long-term strategy for setting the terms of engagement with the United States.
Read the full article in The National Interest.
Read Neil Bhatiya's response.