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President Trump speaks at a press conference following the U.S.–North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump just concluded a meeting with Kim Jong-un that would have been unimaginable even a few months ago.

Where it stands: Much still needs to be worked out, including the specifics of denuclearization, security commitments to South Korea and Japan and some acknowledgment of concerns about human rights. But one point is clear: Talking is now the currency of U.S. relations with North Korea. And that’s a good thing.

Not long ago, Americans fretted that their unpredictable leader would either launch or provoke a nuclear war with North Korea. As those fears recede, political space has opened for talks to prevent such an outcome.

Yet this openness will not necessarily be permanent. As with the Iran nuclear deal, American politics matters. So if the Trump administration doesn’t move quickly to make real, sustainable and verifiable denuclearization gains, the window will close, leaving no diplomatic path forward.

Democrats, despite historically supporting diplomacy, will look for gaps in the administration’s North Korea policy to exploit. Republicans, who have historically pressed for sanctions and military threats, will feel vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy if their president doesn’t deliver the gains he promised.

The bottom line: For a successful diplomatic process that clears Congress, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has promised, Trump will need to move fast. And he will need to make the deal concrete. The good news is that this approach has been managed before. The bad news is that it hasn’t always worked.

Joel Rubin is the president of the Washington Strategy Group and a former deputy assistant secretary of state.

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
5 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”