US-North Korea tensions in 2017 over the latter's nuclear weapons ambitions were replaced by dialogue and detente between 2018 and mid-2019. However, after two face-to-face summits between President Donald Trump and his Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un, the mood has darkened once again. This briefing reviews developments over the past 18 months and assesses future prospects.

In November 2017, 23 EU Member States submitted a Joint Notification to the EU Council of Ministers setting out their intention to utilise the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) mechanism to further European defence (CSDP). Ireland and Portugal subsequently joined in early December and a Decision formally launching PESCO was adopted on 11 December 2017. The first 17 capability projects were formally launched in March 2018, with a second tranche of 17 projects agreed in November 2018. The UK did not sign the Joint Notification and will, therefore, remain outside of PESCO. In doing so, the UK has no decision making rights over its governance, its projects, or a veto over its future strategic direction.