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Asia Minute: Two Countries Talking, Four Others Watching Closely

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We’re just a few days away from President Trump’s scheduled meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in Singapore. And while global attention has been focused on these two leaders, several others will be affected by whatever takes place in Singapore.

Assuming President Trump and Kim Jong Un do get together in Singapore next week, the world really will be watching. Some countries more closely than others.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in played a crucial role in laying the groundwork for the meeting, and has made it known that he’d like to meet with both leaders after they talk in Singapore.

China arranged a pair of meetings between President Xi Jinping and Kim in China over the past three months.

The South China Morning Post reports China is considering sending fighter jets to escort Kim through Chinese airspace on the way to Singapore – in part as a reminder that China remains a key part of regional diplomacy.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was eager to meet President Trump before the Singapore event; according to a count by Reuters, the two leaders have now spoken more than 30 times since Trump took office – including nine face-to-face meetings.

Last week, Russia’s foreign minister traveled to Pyongyang to meet with Kim Jong Un.

Credit Pixabay Commons
Pixabay Commons

All of this is a reminder of what past U.S. administrations have managed in dealing with North Korea — the so-called six-party talks — an approach that started 15 years ago.

The parties involved were North and South Korea, the United States, Japan, China and Russia.

Today the framework for immediate talks may involve two countries, but the other four are clearly waiting to follow up on any developments.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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