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Who should make the first move?

Jan 21,2019 - Last updated at Jan 21,2019

The on-again, off-again flirtations between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been put to the test once again after the "spectacular" meeting between Trump and North Korean envoy Kim Yong-chol in Washington on Saturday.

President Trump emerged from the meeting rather euphoric and sanguine by describing it as "incredible", during which "a lot of progress" has been achieved. Trump summarised the encounter with the North Korean envoy as having succeeded in making things go well with North Korea. President Trump is given to hyperboles in describing encounters with the North Korean leader, and this time's optimistic pronouncements may not be any different. The bottom line is that Trump feels comfortable with Kim and likes dealing with him. The two may have a lot in common and that is what makes their relation sticks and sticks. 

Yet, the gap between the US and North Korea on fundamentals remains wide. On one hand, the US seeks the denuclearisation of Pyongyang's nuclear programme, while on the other, the North Korean government wants the lifting of the punishing economic sanctions being applied against it.

Neither side appears ready to budge on their respective goals. Yet, as President Trump is euphoric about his relationship with Kim and appears hopeful about achieving something tangible when the two hold their second summit in late February, why not relax a bit the punishing sanctions on the country as a sign of good faith.

If the two sides remain stubborn about which one of them must make the first move, they will end up with nothing at the end of the line. Both leaders are alike in this sense too.

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