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North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on September 18, 2018, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo: Pyeongyang Press Corps via Getty Images

South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s long-anticipated visit to Pyongyang on Monday bolstered hopes that the deadlock in U.S.–North Korea denuclearization talks could be broken. The two Koreas agreed to resume cooperation on the economic and cultural fronts, to launch a new age of inter-Korean relations and, most importantly, to begin an era of peace. Kim also promised to visit Seoul in the near future, probably by the end of this year, which would be a first for any North Korean leader.

The big picture: The Pyongyang summit was a hopeful development in the recent flurry of diplomacy with North Korea, but was not in itself a game changer. It laid more groundwork for peace on the peninsula, but ended with minimal progress on the nuclear front. The U.S. has yet to be convinced that the Kim regime is willing and ready to make concrete steps towards denuclearization.

The Pyongyang Declaration fell short of addressing the U.S. demands for North Korean denuclearization. It broadly declared that the two nations would work together toward a Korean peninsula “free of nuclear weapons and nuclear threat,” and that the Northern regime would take steps to permanently dismantle nuclear and missile test sites (including Yongbyon, the birthplace of the country’s nuclear program) if the U.S. took “corresponding measures.”

Kim also agreed to welcome “experts of concerned countries” to witness the prospective dismantlement process. However, he made no commitment to provide either a list of the country’s nuclear facilities or a step-by-step timeline for closing them down — a major step many in Washington had hoped to see.

What’s next: Moon is scheduled to brief Trump on the outcome of the Pyongyang summit during his trip for the UN General Assembly next week. Trump has already expressed interest in a follow-up summit with Kim and hailed the Pyongyang developments as “very exciting,” but it remains to be seen whether the Declaration will be sufficient to move the U.S. toward further negotiations — and possibly toward another meeting between Trump and Kim.

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.

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Australia opposes UN report warning Great Barrier Reef is "in danger"

A green sea turtle swimming among the corals at Lady Elliot island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Great Barrier Reef should be included in a list of World Heritage Sites that are "in danger" from climate change, a United Nations committee said in a report Tuesday.

Yes, but: Australia's government said it will "strongly oppose" the recommendation by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: Abolishing filibuster would weaken "democracy's guardrails"

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema at the U.S. Capitol building earlier this month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) defended her opposition to abolishing the 60-vote legislative filibuster in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday night, saying to do so would weaken "democracy's guardrails."

Why it matters: There have been growing calls from Democrats, particularly progressives, to overhaul the rules as the Senate prepares to vote Tuesday on Democrats' massive voting rights package. But Sinema writes in her op-ed that if this were to happen "we will lose much more than we gain."

Court blocks California assault weapons ban repeal

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Monday blocked a judge's ruling that overturned California's 30-year assault weapons ban.

Driving the news: U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled earlier this month that the ban was unconstitutional and likened the AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife, but the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has now granted a stay, pending appeal.