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

Wall Street is no longer betting on Trump

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Betting markets have turned decisively toward an expected victory for Joe Biden in November — and asset managers at major investment banks are preparing for not only a Biden win, but potentially a Democratic sweep of the Senate and House too.

Why it matters: Wall Street had its chips on a Trump win until recently — even in the midst of the coronavirus-induced recession and Biden's rise in the polls.

With new security law, China outlaws global activism

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The draconian security law that Beijing forced upon Hong Kong last week contains an article making it illegal for anyone in the world to promote democratic reform for Hong Kong.

Why it matters: China has long sought to crush organized dissent abroad through quiet threats and coercion. Now it has codified that practice into law — potentially forcing people and companies around the world to choose between speaking freely and ever stepping foot in Hong Kong again.

41 mins ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: There is no new normal

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The longer the coronavirus pandemic lasts, the farther we're moving apart, according to our analysis of nearly four months of data from the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: Ever since life in the U.S. as we knew it came to a screeching halt, we've been trying to get our heads around what a "new normal" will look like. But so far, the politicization of the virus — and our socioeconomic differences — are working against any notion of national unity in impact or response.