Why Kim Jong Un has the upper hand

Say what you will about Little Rocket Man. North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is the chief thief of a family-run kleptocracy. Like his father and grandfather, he'll starve his own people to get what he wants. Torture and murder are preferred tools of statecraft. But he is not stupid

With the announcement of a summit between North and South Korean leaders as a possible prelude to talks with the Trump administration, Mr Kim has manoeuvred within view of a victory his forefathers only dreamed of: membership in the world community, on North Korea's terms.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2018, with the headline 'Why Kim Jong Un has the upper hand'. Print Edition | Subscribe