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Signs of progress in Trump's North Korea pressure campaign

Kim Jong-un with soldiers and artillery
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un presiding over a target strike exercise conducted by the special operation forces of the Korean People's Army (KPA) at an undisclosed location. Photo: AFP / KCNA via KNS / Getty Images

Even as fears of open conflict have increased in recent months, the Trump administration has in fact made strides in its strategy against North Korea.

The North Korean economy is contracting, trade volume with China is plummeting and economic ties with other key trading partners are being systematically dismantled. Kim Jong-un no longer boasts that his people will not need to “tighten their belts,” as he pledged upon assuming power. North Korean news services complain that sanctions are hurting and anecdotal reports also suggest growing disillusionment with Kim’s economic stewardship.