The Korean dynamics are changing at light speed because Kim Jong-un cares far more about economics than his father ever did, per people close to advisers of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Under the hood: A source who has spoken recently with top South Korean government advisers — and who spoke anonymously to preserve their confidences — told me Moon “freaked out” last year when Trump was threatening “fire and fury” against Kim.
Moon saw last summer that the White House and Pentagon were working on military options in the event that Kim threatened the U.S.
So he went into diplomatic overdrive, using the military crisis to present Kim with economic development plans he’d long wanted to deliver.
One story that was widely reported in the South Korean press but didn’t get much attention in the U.S. is that, at their April summit, Moon gave a USB drive to Kim.
“The USB makes the case to Kim — there really is another path for you,” John Delury, an expert in North Korean affairs at Seoul’s Yonsei University, told me. He said the USB, which contained a plan for tens of billions worth of economic development in North Korea including railways and energy, sent the message to Kim: “We’re serious about working with you for what we think is your real ambition — to be a wealthy East Asian country.”