The world was stunned last month when the leaders of North and South Korea got together for a historic meeting at their highly contentious border. Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in, the leaders of two countries that have long been on the brink of nuclear war, were pictured smiling, shaking hands and embracing each other. Astoundingly, Jae-in even crossed over into the North for a brief moment.
The meeting set the ball rolling for another historic meet-up between Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said at the time: “If President Trump and Chairman Kim meet following an inter-Korean summit, complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula will be put on the right track in earnest.”
Trump is now set to meet the North Korean leader at a 12 June summit in Singapore.
But could Trump and his administration be about to blow their chance to achieve peace?
According to reports, North Korea is preparing to pull out of the upcoming summit because of the actions of Trump’s team and their demands to give up their nuclear weapons.
North Korea’s vice-foreign minister accused the US of making reckless statements and of harbouring sinister intentions, according to the BBC, pointing the finger at US National Security Adviser John Bolton as the source of their annoyance.
“We do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him,” Kim Kye-gwan said.
Bolton, a memorably-mustachioed hard-core conservative, has a long history with North Korea and played a role in nixing an early peace deal attempt back in 2000.
In another sign of growing tensions, North Korea expressed their anger over the start of US-South Korea joint military drills, calling them “a provocative military ruckus.”
Now, it’s possible that North Korea is using this outrage as a negotiating tactic. And if that’s the case, it could be seen as a sign of progress. Don’t forget that their traditional form of diplomacy is firing off a scary nuclear missile test.
We’ll see what Trump is able to deliver if the meeting goes ahead in June – and if he’ll be in line for that Nobel Peace Prize.