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People watch a news program about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to North Korea People watch a news program about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to North Korea at a railway station in Seoul, June 18, 2019 (AP photo by Lee Jin-man).

China Is the Key to North Korea’s Denuclearization. Trump Is Throwing It Away

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un showed up to cut the ribbon at the opening of a fertilizer factory late last week, thereby quashing rumors that he was dead or perhaps incapacitated as a result of botched heart surgery. Disappearing for weeks at a time, as he did last month, is not unusual for Kim. But his failure to appear on April 15 at ceremonies celebrating the birthday of his grandfather and the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung, triggered a whirlwind of rumors.

Because he is just 36 and his children are all quite young, there was also rampant speculation as to who might follow Kim and what a power vacuum at the top might mean for regional peace and stability. The uncertainty of the past few weeks—and the potential that political instability in North Korea could lead to a strategic miscalculation with disastrous results—underscores why the past four American presidents have made it a priority to eliminate the country’s nuclear weapons and missile capabilities. ...

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