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Trump's Mixed Signals toward North Korea and US-led Alliances in East Asia


The relationship between the Trump administration and the regime in Pyongyang has gone through two distinct phases: a period of crisis and confrontation, roughly corresponding to the year 2017, and a period of diplomacy and détente in the first half of 2018, which culminated in the Singapore summit of June 2018. During both phases, Trump’s approach has been characterised by a high degree of unpredictability and the use of ‘mixed signals’. As a consequence, while the US achieved a significant objective in 2018, namely a reduction in tension and risk of conflict, this came at a considerable cost, especially in terms of the solidity of the US-led alliances in East Asia.
Keywords: Trump, North Korea, signals, alliance, security