The United States and South Korea will resume joint military drills today, following a delay during February’s Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
The exercises come as the two countries are attempting to negotiate with North Korea over its nuclear program, including a proposed summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Contributing to the thaw, Pyongyang has yet to engage in a provocative weapons tests this year, and both leaders have curbed their bombastic rhetoric towards one another.
However, factors remain that could derail the planned summit. Alongside today’s drills, the UN has announced a blacklist on companies and ships accused of circumventing sanctions on Pyongyang. While these measures show Washington is serious about maintaining pressure on Kim, they could produce an angry North Korean response.
If Pyongyang keeps with its diplomatic stance through the drills and blacklist, expect talks to proceed. However, with plans for the summit vague—a date or place has not been set and Trump’s agenda is broadly “denuclearisation”—it remains to be seen what concessions Kim is actually ready to make.
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Nicholas is an Italian politics aficionado. Nick brings his knowledge of southern Europe to bear in The Daily Brief team, where he serves as a senior analyst and editor.