It’s also worth remembering that North Korea’s practice of seizing, imprisoning and, in one case, probably torturing Americans represents reprehensible behavior that says something about the nature of the regime. I would not give Pyongyang too much credit for undoing something it shouldn’t have been doing in the first place.
As we try to determine whether North Korea is serious about moving in a positive and productive direction, it is also fair to ask whether the North Korean leader may be coming to the table out of sense of vulnerability.
Perhaps fortune will smile on us this time. Over the years, though, when we were tested with the North's sincerity regarding denuclearization, Pyongyang disappointed us. Perhaps this time, North Korea will finally pass the test.
[The inter-Korean summit was a success] from the perspective of its optics, pageantry, and preparation. The Joint Declaration is largely a compilation of past bilateral agreements between Seoul and Pyongyang dating all the way back to 1972, virtually all of which ended up in failure. And [Donald] Trump's breathlessly positive response to the summit suggests he could fall into a North Korean trap at a US-DPRK summit if the North Koreans offer him even a minor concession. Kim Jong Un's skills as a tactician and a negotiator were on full display at the Panmunjom summit. Let's hope that President Trump's advisers are preparing him particularly well for his meeting with Kim. He's about to meet a real pro.