Expert Voices

Strategy, not skepticism, needed ahead of North Korea summit

Pedestrians walk past a banner showing two hands shaking to form the shape of the Korean Peninsula to support the upcoming inter-Korean summit
A banner in Seoul supporting the upcoming inter-Korean summit. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

Critics of the upcoming U.S. summit with North Korea have voiced concerns that Kim Jong-un will never agree to denuclearization or that, if he does, he will renege. Those dubious of hardliners like John Bolton suspect talks are a charade and a prelude to war. These fears are real, but so is the potential for success.

The big picture: Though both the U.S. and North Korea could well adopt poison pills the other would not accept, the two countries do in fact have common ground. The policy community should focus on developing a diplomatic strategy rather than heralding the summit's inevitable failure.