Stories by P.J. Crowley

Expert Voices

Kim's diplomatic offensive upends U.S. policy

Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Photo: AFP / KCNA via KNS

The Trump administration may be trying to exert “maximum pressure” on Kim Jong-un, but it doesn’t appear that North Korea’s young leader is feeling it.

Throughout 2018, Kim has been on the diplomatic offensive — reestablishing a high-level dialogue with South Korea, creating a shining moment at the Olympics, extending the invitation for an unprecedented meeting with President Trump and just this week meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, on his first foreign trip after six years in office.

Expert Voices

The biggest hurdle to a North Korean nuclear deal: American politics

President Trump
President Trump in the Oval Office. Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

News that President Donald Trump will sit down with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the next three months is a stunning development. There is considerable risk associated with this dramatic gambit. Contrary to the normal diplomatic playbook, which calls for leaders to meet after experts have worked through complex details, this meeting will in essence kickstart negotiations.

What's next: If Kim is willing to bargain away his nuclear and missile capabilities — a big if — the biggest hurdle to an agreement will be less what North Koreans demand than what American politics allows.

Expert Voices

Olympics end with North Korean diplomacy stuck at the starting line

Ivanka Trump, Moon Jae-in and Kim Jung-sook
South Korean President Moon Jae-in with his wife, Kim Jung-sook, and Ivanka Trump at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Photo: Sergei Bobylev / TASS via Getty Images

Notwithstanding Pyeongchang’s proximity to the North Korean border, a mere 40 miles, the Winter Olympics concluded without incident. That in itself is no small achievement.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in earned a diplomatic gold medal by enticing Pyongyang to join the festivities rather than disrupt them. North and South Korean athletes carried the torch in the opening ceremonies. The North Korean cheerleaders retained their enthusiasm even as the joint women’s hockey team lost every game. And North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, sent a high-level delegation that included his sister.

What’s next: There may be a meeting between the North and South leaders, which wouldn't hurt. But after two weeks of sprints, jumps and triple axels, relations between Washington and Pyongyang haven't changed much.

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