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Back to the future: North Korea policy returns to business as usual

Donald Trump in the Oval Office on May 17, 2018, and Kim Jong-un during the inter-Korean summit in Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.
President Trump during an Oval Office meeting on May 17, 2018, and Kim Jong-un during the inter-Korean summit in Panmunjom on April 27, 2018. Photo: Saul Loeb/Korea Summit Press Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The cancellation of the widely anticipated Trump–Kim summit in Singapore represents the latest turn in a period of dramatic zig-zag diplomacy: Just a few months ago, the President was calling Kim "Little Rocket Man" and threatening to destroy his country, while Kim was testing missiles and talking about nuclear attacks.

The big picture: The future of North Korea policy is likely to look much like the past, and the recent spate of high-level engagement merely an aberration in the Washington–Pyongyang standoff.