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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held their historic summit in Singapore this June, they signed a statement that they would "work toward a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

The big picture: Negotiations have stalled. North Korea is not making a good faith effort to live up to its promises, and the regime has even drawn up its own preconditions for denuclearization that may prove impossible to meet.

Driving this year's news:

  • Tensions began easing in 2018 when North and South Korea entered the Olympics together. Soon after, Trump agreed to meet with Kim later in the year.
  • In the meantime, then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo went to North Korea to negotiate. He eventually brought home 3 freed American prisoners.
  • Kim threatened to cancel the planned summit with Trump over U.S.-South Korean military drills in the region, but it was Trump who ended up canceling the meeting when Kim didn’t reveal summit planning details.
  • Kim and Trump ended up meeting in June after all, the first time sitting leaders of the two countries met.
  • They pledged they would work toward "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" in a joint statement.
  • But North Korea has still refused to provide documentation of its nuclear weapons and production sites, and satellite imagery suggests they've ramped up work.

What's next: Pompeo said we "still are working through the execution of Chairman Kim's commitment to denuclearize" and added we are "undoubtedly…in a better place today" compared to a year ago.

  • Pompeo said he hopes Trump and Kim meet in early 2019 to negotiate.
  • North Korea has demanded the U.S. eliminate its own nuclear threats around the Korean peninsula before North Korea denuclearizes.

The bottom line: North Korea has approached denuclearization several times before, and negotiations have always faltered when North Korea sidesteps verification that it has, in fact, denuclearized. This time appears to be no different.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
3 hours ago - Sports

European soccer is at war

Liverpool celebrating its 2019 Champions League victory. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

2021's expected earnings blowout begins

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

4 hours ago - Science

NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight as first aircraft piloted on another planet

Ingenuity on the surface of Mars, filmed by NASA's Perseverance rover. Photo: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA successfully piloted the Ingenuity Mars helicopter for its first experimental flight on Monday, briefly hovering the aircraft as NASA's Perseverance rover collected data.

Why it matters: Ingenuity's short flight marks the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.