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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with U.S. President Trump during their historic summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island on June 12, 2018, in Singapore. Photo: Kevin Lim/The Strait Times via Getty Images

The leaders of the U.S. and North Korea, who only six months ago appeared to be heading for war, have now declared their commitment to “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.” However, the joint statement from last night’s meeting did not mention a formal framework for denuclearization.

The big picture: Although it feels like watching an old movie again, with new actors and some twists in the context, we have yet to see how this version ends. Despite mounting disappointments, Trump’s North Korea diplomacy still deserves the benefit of the doubt as it continues to evolve.

Ever since he accepted an invitation to meet with Kim last March, Trump vowed to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) of North Korea. In the absence of any CVID discussion during the summit, many pundits have declared it a victory for Kim and criticized Trump’s diplomacy.

The other side: A CVID would have been useful in 2003 when it was first introduced as a framework for North Korea’s then still-nascent nuclear program. But Trump may have realized that a CVID is no longer a realistic goal, and Kim would not easily accede to the concept.

This isn't necessarily bad news: CVID can be achieved only when North Korea becomes a normal state that no longer sees the need for nuclear armament. In this regard, the joint statement set the right tone for future negotiations, which should focus on not just denuclearization but also normalization for North Korea.

What's next: Secretary of State Pompeo will soon discuss next steps with his North Korean counterpart, who will make a tough negotiating partner. At the same time, Pompeo will face domestic difficulties as the Trump administration tries to sell the deal before November's election. He will also need to work closely in this process with not only the two key U.S. allies — Japan and South Korea — but also China.

Gi-Wook Shin is chair of Korean Studies at Stanford University, director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

1 dead after pickup truck hits Pride spectators in Florida

Police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

A driver in a pickup truck hit spectators at a Pride festival in Wilton Manors, Florida, killing a man and leaving another person hospitalized Saturday, authorities said.

Details: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told reporters police had "apprehended the driver" and that the vehicle missed a parade car carrying Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) "by inches."

Updated 8 hours ago - Sports

Uganda Olympic team member tests positive for COVID in Tokyo

The Uganda National boxing team's Catherine Nanziri (L) and others arrive for check-in at Entebbe international airport in Wakiso, Uganda on Friday, ahead of their departure to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Badru Katumba/AFP via Getty Images

A Uganda Olympic team member tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan late Saturday, officials said.

Why it matters: Japan's government has faced criticism for vowing to host the Tokyo Games next month as coronavirus cases rise. The Ugandan team is the second to arrive in Japan after the Australian women's softball players, and this is the first COVID-19 infection detected among the Olympic athletes, Al Jazeera notes.

Updated 12 hours ago - World

In photos: Brazilians rally against Bolsonaro as COVID deaths top 500,000

A June 19 protest in São Paulo, Brazil, against the administration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has railed against precautionary health measures despite the soaring COVID-19 death rate and cases. Photo: Rodrigo Paiva/Getty Images

Demonstrators took to the streets in at least 22 of Brazil’s 26 states to protest President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic — as deaths from COVID-19 in the country surged past 500,000 Saturday, per AP.

The big picture: Brazil has the world's second-highest coronavirus death toll and third-highest number of reported cases. Only 12% of the country's population has been vaccinated against the virus, AP notes.

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