So how should we view the meeting between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un and the declaration they have both signed? Is it a “historic” breakthrough for world peace as is being celebrated by the likes of this commentator; or is it a disgraceful debacle, as is being lambasted by the likes of this one?
Well, as Zhou Enlai reputedly observed when asked about the impact of the French Revolution on western civilisation, it’s simply too early to say.
The terms of the declaration signed by Trump and Kim are studiedly vague. The North Korean regime has previously made promises about de-nuclearisation which it promptly tore up.
As Trump himself has said, however, this is merely the start of a process. It has been suggested that his strategy is to reel Kim in over time like a big fish on a line, with every step towards denuclearisation being rewarded by another step in relieving sanctions. And that may be so.