The highly anticipated summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un took place with great fanfare in Singapore last Tuesday, but the debate over its outcomes and significance continues. Many have pointed to the summit declaration – which commits both sides to very little and certainly nothing that is new – as evidence the summit achieved nothing of real substance. President Trump has declared the summit a major success and said it represents the beginning of new era of relations with North Korea.
Unsurprisingly, there is little ambivalence in North Korea over the summit. The country’s media has portrayed it as vindication of Kim’s visionary leadership and his steadfastness in standing up to the Americans. A major theme running through this coverage is that North Korea’s status as major power has now been recognised and that Pyongyang’s policy preferences have been accepted by the US President as framing future negotiations and dialogue. Some of this is surely hyperbole, but the potent impact among North Koreans of a US president engaging their supreme leader as an equal in a bilateral summit cannot be underestimated.
Please click here to read the full “Singapore summit: why Canberra should lie awake at night” in the Australian Financial Review, written by Griffith Asia Institute member, Professor Andrew O’Neil.