Today marks the 65th anniversary of the armistice that suspended the Korean War in 1953.
Following a meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that thawed tensions between their two countries, today’s anniversary will be marked by the return of US soldiers killed during the Korean War. Indeed, Pyongyang is expected to return the remains of up to 55 missing soldiers today, although some 7,700 troops remain unaccounted for.
Despite the positive gesture, North Korea appears no closer to denuclearisation than it was at the time of the Trump-Kim summit five weeks ago. Indeed, while Mr Trump claims that the denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula would be a quick process, Pyongyang has only begun dismantling one of its missile development facilities this week, while others appear to have undergone improvements since the summit.
Meanwhile, Pyongyang is taking advantage of the thaw in tensions. For example, despite sanctions that ban 90% of petroleum exports to North Korea, gasoline prices in the country have halved since earlier this year. As such, small victories like the returning of US soldiers should not be confused for a real development towards denuclearisation.
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Alex is a senior analyst in the Current Developments team with a primary focus on the Americas. He also serves as an editor on The Daily Brief.