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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

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek re-election in 2022

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speaking during a press conference in November 2021. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation's most popular governors, said Wednesday that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) will not seek third terms in 2022.

Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.