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Clearly, Donald Trump doesn't subscribe to the philosophy of Harry Truman, who once said: "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit."

On North Korea, President Trump takes most, if not all of the credit for what is an extraordinary series of recent events.

Well, we will give the president the due he wants. He deserves no small measure of the credit for positive developments involving North Korea. No question.

Arguably, no predecessor of President Trump can claim to have occupied the Oval Office at a time when longtime enemies North and South Korea looked closer to peace between them.

"President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize" for his role in bringing the two countries closer, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday.

What a difference one year makes.

In a May 12, 2017, editorial we said this:

"In what arguably is the most difficult overseas threat to the United States and its allies facing the administration of President Donald Trump, North Korea continues to launch missile tests, thumb its nose at pressure to stop, and make threats, including threats against the United States.

"Where does this end?

“Today, the answer to that question is as murky as the view from outside North Korea is of life inside the secretive country. Troubling doesn't begin to describe this tension-filled standoff for which no simple answers exist."

Less than two months have passed since the White House, in a surprise, confirmed President Trump accepted an invitation by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a first-of-its kind face-to-face sitdown.

Since then, this:

1) In early April, Mike Pompeo - then CIA director and today secretary of state - met with Kim in North Korea. The meeting was described as groundwork in preparation for a Trump-Kim meeting.

2) On April 27, Moon and Kim met on the South Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone, the first time leaders of the two nations met in more than 10 years and the first time a leader of North Korea set foot in South Korea. The leaders signed a joint statement pledging to work toward a permanent peace treaty and the elimination of nuclear weapons from the peninsula.

3) On Monday, President Trump said the Demilitarized Zone and Singapore are under consideration as sites for his planned meeting with Kim.

4) According to reports on Tuesday, Kim said he is agreeable to a meeting with President Trump in the Demilitarized Zone.

We are under no illusions. At this point, a new era on the Korean peninsula is only talk. Broken North Korea promises in the past and the unpredictability of Kim demand the vigilance of a tempered, eyes-wide-open approach by the Trump administration.

Still, no one can argue the landscape today is improved, dramatically, from where it was. Hope springs anew.

If, in fact, we are on the brink of permanent peace between the two Koreas and a resulting safer future for America, its friends in the region, and indeed the world, Trump will be entitled to claim a legacy achievement under his watch.


Opinion editor

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