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When the Iron Curtain came down in 1991, the frigid relationships that characterized the decades-long Cold War began to thaw. American-Russian relations improved in the 1990s. President George W. Bush improved relations with China by granting them Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR), and President Barack Obama eased restrictions on American travel to Cuba. Through all that time, one American relationship seemed to deteriorate: that with North Korea. With the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the Koreas began to improve their relationship with one another. After some tense moments in the wake of the event, the leaders of the United States and North Korea agreed to meet in Singapore. That meeting took place on June 12, and these medallions commemorate the historic deal that the two parties struck. A ½ oz. gold and 1 oz. silver medallion were issued.
At the end of the Second World War, the world divided into three parts, or three “worlds” as they were known: the First World, which consisted of the United States and the nations that it supported, the Second World, which was comprised of the Soviet Union and the states that it supported, and the Third World, which had the support of neither. The First World and Second World were bitterly divided, with proxy wars fought in various parts of the globe. One of the earliest of these wars was the Korean War. The United States backed South Korea and the Soviet Union backed the North. Both sides suffered casualties into the hundreds of thousands. In 1953, the countries entered an armistice that ended the fighting but not the war, and the two Koreas remained in that state for over sixty years. After decades of tension that included several skirmishes, North Korea and South Korea agreed to enter talks to officially end the war earlier this year. Tensions remained high between the United States and North Korea, but the relationship finally began to thaw when Chairman Kim Jung-un and President Donald Trump met in Singapore earlier this year. These medallions celebrate their historic agreement.
The two medals bear the same designs. On the obverse, a circular frame includes inscriptions of the names of the two countries involved in the summit, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA.” Within the frame are the flags of the two countries involved. They hang vertically and are fully colorized.
The reverse features a handshake of the leaders of the two countries in the foreground and the agreement that they signed in the background. The agreement focused on establishing new relations between the countries, building a stable peace on the Korean Peninsula, denuclearization of the peninsula, and the return of POW and MIA remains. The agreement is intricately engraved and includes the signatures of the two leaders. The rim frame on this face features two inscriptions, the date of the summit, “12 JUNE 2018,” and “SINGAPORE SUMMIT.”