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What sort of man is Kim Jong Un? In their different ways, both the US and South Korea are making the same bet: that the North Korean leader is a reformist. In the past he may have seemed to be cut from the same cloth as his father and grandfather, the architects of the North’s militarised isolation, but the recent overtures made by both Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in suggest there has been a change of heart.

Make no mistake, argues Gideon Rachman in his column, there may be subtler dynamics at work. Mr Moon, the South Korean president, might simply be capitalising on the sheer unpredictability of Mr Trump and Mr Kim’s politics. For too long the North Korean and American positions have been intractable, with neither willing to concede ground in good faith. Sceptics argue that Mr Kim is merely laying another trap. That may be so, Gideon concedes, but in this case naivety is a better bet than the alternative: provocative missile testing and threats of “fire and fury”.

Robert Shrimsley suggests that zealous Leavers are endangering their hard-won goal of achieving Brexit. These Tory hardliners, who are now trying to scupper UK prime minister Theresa May’s Chequers deal, risk undoing everything they have fought for, out of their own ambitions.

Anne-Marie Slaughter looks ahead to the UN general assembly this week, an event described as “speed dating for diplomats. If the organisation is to make meaningful change in a time of creeping nationalism, she says, it needs to reimagine and reorganise itself.

Jana Bakunina explains how male investors react when she tells them she focuses on funding companies founded by women: “You’re a philanthropist — good for you!”. Blind to the business opportunity, these venture capitalists are missing out on a piece of a lucrative pie.

Edward Luce predicts the allegations of sexual assault made against Brett Kavanaugh, Mr Trump’s Supreme Court nominee will poison Washington. The conservative justice’s nomination has already exacerbated partisan divisions. Much worse is to come.

Anne-Sylvaine Chassany reflects on her move back to London, the city she raised her son in until he was six. While it may be another foreign posting for her, Adrien sees the move as a return home — a sign, she says, that one can never truly be a citizen of nowhere.

What you’ve been saying

Lonely penguins provide a better Brexit analogy: letter from Andrew Allott, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK

Jeremy Ramsden defends a cherry-picked Brexit ( Letters) using the analogy of natural selection, but this is invalid. It denies the reciprocity in relationships between states and assumes that selective agents act only in the UK. […] Another analogy we might consider is the isolation of male emperor penguins on the ice through an Antarctic winter. The penguins are certainly in control as they do not have to interact with any other species. But by the end of winter they are nearly starving and have to return to the ocean to feed. Even with predators and competitors, the benefits of living in a community far outweigh the risks.

In response to “China is reshaping the international order”, A sad day says:

This piece does not reflect a widely held view in many parts of Asia where the impact of Chinese policy is less benign and not constrained to cheap consumer goods. Witness the crackdown on the freedom of the press and democratic councilors in Hong Kong and the constant intimidation of Taiwan. And the debt Laos, Sri Lanka and Malaysia have incurred on Chinese sponsored infrastructure projects which offer no real economic value to the host.

Presumption of innocence in Russian intelligence: letter from Bruce Couchman, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Just as in many western nations the accused benefit from a presumption of innocence, perhaps in Russia they also benefit from a presumption that they are not members of the security or intelligence services.

Today’s opinion

Did we ‘citizens of nowhere’ mess up along the way?
My son’s attachment to London has altered my own sense of belonging in a foreign city

Free Lunch: It was right not to bail out Lehman Brothers
Aftermath of financial crisis shows it is crucial to restructure debts

The greatest threat to Brexit is now the Brexiters themselves
Devoted remainers should offer up a nightly prayer for the health of these diehards

Instant Insight: New allegations about Brett Kavanaugh will poison Washington
The judge’s Supreme Court nomination has crystallised partisan divisions

A nuclear gamble on North Korea’s Chairman Kim
The US and South Korea are betting that the leader in Pyongyang is a secret reformer

EM Squared: EM technology sector cut down to size as BATs reclassified
Index revamps will see IT stocks scattered as financials reclaim pole position

Can macro policy easing still rescue China?
Assets have slumped on misplaced fears that a recession is likely

Transform UN entities from hierarchies into hubs
The organisation must focus more on people and emphasise its pledge for human rights

Instant Insight: British Conservatives made a grave error protecting Viktor Orban
London’s focus is shifting from promoting liberal democracy to Brexit

The Cost-Benefit Revolution, by Cass Sunstein
A valuable study of a quiet victory for technocrats

Why the future of electric cars lies in China
Tesla grabs the limelight, but the real story is elsewhere

FT View

The FT View: Unilever and a growing UK shareholder revolt
Relocation plan looks like a nil-premium takeover by Dutch arm

The FT View: Private equity buying banks is not a good mix
The financial crisis taught that spiralling leverage can be dangerous

The Big Read

The Big Read: Deal or no deal? Theresa May’s moment of truth on Brexit
EU leaders believe an agreement with the prime minister is possible but worry it will not be ratified in the UK

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