Let me say that if Donald Trump is able to finalize a serious agreement in Korea that brings an official end to the war there as well as establishing some kind of peaceful settlement in general that leads to some sort of mutually acceptable arrangement between the two Koreas that maintains a peaceful situation for some reasonably lengthy time into the future, pretty much irrespective of the exact details, I shall applaud. I shall not even hold my nose if somehow he gets the Nobel Peace Prize for it, as advocated by ROK president Moon Jae-in, although it is the latter who is the far more deserving recipient. But maybe such an award would have several recipients for it, if it happens. A few observations in any case.
I suspect that the importance of Trump’s loud sabre-rattling has been exaggerated, certainly in the US media, but I shall not say it has played no part. But certainly important has been the substantial heightening of economic sanctions that came in over the past year as DPRK president Kim Jong-un carried out a series of major nuclear weapons and missile tests, culminating with a claim of testing an H-bomb and obtaining a sufficient nuclear weapons stache for deterrent purposes. Most important in this was China finally enforcing much stricter economic sanctions on the DPRK, either out of trying to please Trump, or out of increasing annoyance with Kim, or more likely a combination of both. As it is, Kim visited Beijing (by train) just before announcing his willingness to visit the ROK, and in fact China has been easing the economic sanctions since then. Without doubt this played a huge role, if not all that widely acknowledged, and even as all along pretty much everybody said that DPRK would not act until China put the economic squeeze on, and it finally did.