With the icicles still glinting with the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic games, US President Donald Trump, like any disgruntled child, wanted to reassert his relevance. Little Rocket Man had assumed diplomatic pose, or at the very least adopted a stance of considered caution towards his South Korean counterparts. While the US seemed stubborn and sulky, South Korea seemed encouraged, taking Pyongyang’s gestures to heart.
This could hardly have been easy for a playtime president. He had been, to some extent, shaded by the spectacle of two Koreas marching and competing together, and murmurings of a possible summit between Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in.
The sentiment had been conveyed via an invitation from Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, that the two leaders meet. “I hope President Moon will,” claimed Kim’s sibling envoy with historical purpose, “take the leading role to open a new chapter for unification and accomplish a legacy that will be remembered for long.”
During the Olympics, US Vice-President Mike Pence decided to damn such efforts with faint praise.
For all that President Moon has done in outreach and discussions around the Olympics and inter-Korean talks, there is no daylight between the United States and the Republic of Korea and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile program.
Pence affirmed the stance by…