Do reasons for hope eclipse cynicism?

Notwithstanding the great chemistry between Moon and Kim — the handshakes and laughter, and that hug — the smart money is on Kim hanging onto his nukes, come what may.

From Asia Times:

There were talks and toasts, border crossings and backslaps — even a joint tree-watering. Gasps and occasional applause broke out among the 3,000-strong press corps assembled to cover the Inter-Korean summit as they watched Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in — two leaders of warring states — ignite what looks very much like a nascent bromance.

So, the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit was rich in symbolism. Was it rich in substance?

In terms of inter-Korean relations, yes. Agreements to establish a cross-border communications body; to continue the two leaders’ relationship and dialogue past the summit; to bring a halt to the military clashes that occasionally disturb the de facto peace on the Korean Peninsula’s de jure state of war; to reunite divided families; to establish inter-Korean communication links toward a day when Koreans, Northern or Southern, can cross the Demilitarized Zone: All these are positive developments.

What did not feature much in the powwow and subsequent declaration was the big-ticket item, the grim scythe that hangs over the flashpoint peninsula and casts a long, dark shadow over its neighbors: North Korea’s nuclear arms.

While the Panmunjom Declaration committed all parties to “total denuclearization” — a stark statement indeed — there was no detail. And while Moon mentioned it, it was telling that Kim, in his various comments during Friday’s numerous speaking ops, did not.

So, are we trapped in déjà vu? Doomed to repeat the boom-bust, hope-despair cycle that we have seen after all previous diplomatic breakthroughs, and the last two inter-Korean summits?

According to many, the answer is “yes.” Multiple pundits — including some very smart ones whose work appears in Asia Times — are convinced that Kim will never give up the weapons that guarantee his regime against invasion, and which grant his wobbly state a voice in global affairs.

Read the whole thing …