Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, appears to be a master strategist. He wrote to Moon Jae-in, president of South Korea, expressing a desire to meet again in 2019 to discuss denuclearization on the Korean peninsula and strengthen the bonds of friendship. He began 2018 by offering a fig leaf to Moon Jae-in in the form of reactivation of the hotline. It led to a flurry of activities in the South as well as in the US. The world heaved a sigh of relief as the threat of nuclear confrontation receded into the background.

CNN reports that 2018 was a historic year in bonding between the two Koreas.

There was an apparent thaw in the relationship between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in as the two leaders met on several occasions and even exchanged gifts. In spite of all that, the issue of denuclearization continues to remain elusive.

The Korean front during 2018

The North Korean leader wrote a letter to his counterpart in the South regretting his inability to attend their fourth meeting. Both sides had agreed for such a meeting during the third summit held in Pyongyang in September. In the letter, Kim Jong-un once again reiterated his wish to work towards the common goal of peace and prosperity. The office of Moon Jae-in, President of South Korea, revealed this information.

The situation in the Korean peninsula was volatile and the relationship between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump kept the world on edge.

Ultimately, both of them met in Singapore in June where they signed a document reaffirming Kim's "unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization." In his latest letter to Moon Jae-in, the North Korean leader has vowed to resolve the denuclearization issue. However, there is no visible evidence to support that line of thinking.

Kim and Trump perhaps need to change their perceptions

According to Channel News Asia, during 2018, the interaction between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in did help to improve cross-border ties. It resulted in a summit with Donald Trump in Singapore but efforts to achieve denuclearization are facing hurdles. Both Washington and Pyongyang are blaming each other because the former wants to maintain pressure through isolation and sanctions, which is not going down well with the latter.

In this context, the letter written by Kim to Moon is significant. In the letter, he has indicated his willingness to hold more summits with Moon Jae-in next year on denuclearization. Incidentally, Donald Trump is also “looking forward" to another summit with Kim, probably in early 2019. Since the two Koreas are trying to come closer, Trump might have to consider modifying his strategies.