Asia Minute: Summit Collapse: The View From Asia

Mar 1, 2019

Credit Dan Scavino Jr. / Twitter

Now that President Trump is back in the United States, his focus has shifted back to domestic matters. But there are lingering questions about his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. And many of those questions are being asked in Asia.

South Korean stock prices predictably tumbled right after the collapse of the U.S.-North Korean summit talks.

The regional response beyond markets has been more nuanced.

One of South Korea’s biggest circulation newspapers wrote in an editorial the breakdown of talks came “as a great shock.”

But the piece in the Joongang Ilbo’s Friday edition added that “no deal is better than a bad deal” — urging the Seoul government to “overcome its baseless optimism and face reality” — but also to continue “to pursue the role of a proper mediator between the United States and North Korea. “

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe supported what he called “President Trump’s decision not to make the easy choice.” Adding that he wants to meet the North Korean leader himself to get an accounting for all Japanese citizens who were kidnapped by the North Korean regime.

In Singapore, there was criticism of a summit perhaps too hastily arranged — lacking the diplomatic groundwork to prepare a realistic agreement.

An opinion piece in the Straits Times early Friday criticized “the weakness of leader-led negotiations.”

China’s Foreign Minister met with North Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister in Beijing on Friday — saying China would play a “constructive role” in talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

A column in the South China Morning Post suggested events in Hanoi could boost Chinese influence . . . Kim Jong Un is expected to stop in Beijing on his way back to North Korea.