Open Forum

The pace of change was overwhelming in the final weeks of winter and the first month of spring. Moon Jae-in appeared to be in the driver’s seat, but he was counting on Kim Jong-un to keep the momentum building. Abe Shinzo was desperate to shore up relations with Donald Trump, rushing to visit the United States in mid-April, and succeeded at last in arranging the China-Japan-South Korea summit in May, with Moon Jae-in and Li Keqiang expected to attend. For a moment, Xi Jinping seemed on the margins of US-Korean diplomacy as Kim Jong-un’s summits with Moon and Trump were being planned, but Xi responded quickly by inviting Kim to Beijing for summit and offering to visit Pyongyang as early as June. Washington’s economic policy in Asia was in no less turmoil, rocked by key personnel changes in the Trump administration. What was voiced at one DC setting was almost instantaneously dated, as Asia-watchers struggled to keep up with rapid developments transpiring in the region. 

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