The country’s biggest public businesses may soon have to publish the gap between the pay of their chief executive and an average worker.
Business Secretary Greg Clark says directors of all companies with more than 250 employees will be required to disclose and explain this difference – known as the “pay ratio”.
Equal pay campaigners, business and investor groups, welcomed the plan.
But the TUC said it was “a first step” and even tougher rules were needed.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said guaranteed places for worker representatives on boardroom pay committees would bring “common sense and fairness to decision-making when boardroom pay packets are approved.”
In recent years shareholders have become increasingly vocal over executive pay levels, and have voted against what they see as excessive pay awards, most notably the high sums paid to former WPP boss, Sir Martin Sorrell.
But top level remuneration, particularly chief executives, is often linked to the performance of the share price.
The new rules, as well as introducing the publication of pay ratios, will also require listed companies to show what effect an increase in share prices will have on executive pay, in order to inform shareholders when voting on long-term incentive plans.
The plans, which will be presented to Parliament on Monday, follow concerns that some chief executives have been receiving salaries that are out-of-step with company performance.
Mr Clark said: “Most of the UK’s largest companies get their business practices right, but we understand the anger of workers and shareholders when bosses’ pay is out of step with company performance.”
The plans were welcomed by the Investment Association, as well as the business lobby group the CBI and the High Pay Centre.
Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association, said investors wanted greater director accountability and more transparency over executive remuneration.
“Investors will expect boards to articulate why the ratio is right for the company and how directors are fulfilling their duties,” he said.
The director of the High Pay Centre, Luke Hildyard, said pay ratios could prove useful to investors, workers and society more broadly.
“We hope that [the move] will initiate a more informed debate about what represents fair, proportionate pay for workers at all levels,” he said.
The Confederation of British Industry’s Matthew Fell said high pay was only ever justified by outstanding performance: “This legislation can help to develop a better dialogue between boards and employees about the goals and aspirations of their business, and how pay is determined to achieve this shared vision.”
If approved, the regulations will come into effect from the start of next year, meaning companies will start reporting their pay ratios in 2020.
Detailed plans on the UK’s post-Brexit future will not be published until after this month’s EU summit.
Theresa May will summon senior ministers to an away day at Chequers in July to settle details of the white paper and find a common way forward.
With ministers aiming to complete the negotiations by October, many had expected the plans to be released earlier.
It comes after Boris Johnson said the UK’s Brexit strategy lacks “guts”.
The white paper has been called the government’s “most significant publication on the EU since the referendum”.
Speaking at the G7 summit in Canada, the prime minister said: “There’s going to be a lot of activity in the negotiations over the coming weeks.
“I’ll be going to the June European Council where we’ll be talking about finalising the withdrawal agreement, but also pressing on the future relationship.
After that, I’ll be bringing my ministers together for an away day at Chequers to finalise the white paper we’re going to be publishing.
“And then before Parliament breaks for the summer, we’ll be bringing the Trade and Customs Bill back to the House of Commons.
“Throughout all of that time, the negotiations will be continuing.”
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Your guide to Brexit jargon
This week’s events have once again highlighted the gulf of opinion in the cabinet over Brexit.
On Thursday, Mrs May was forced to agree to a cut-off date of December 2021 for any interim arrangements after Brexit Secretary David Davis threatened to resign over the wording of the UK’s proposed temporary customs agreement – the so-called backstop.
The proposal would see the UK match EU trade tariffs temporarily in order to avoid a hard Irish border post-Brexit.
That row was followed by comments from the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson – recorded at a private dinner – where he warned of a Brexit meltdown, and said issues around the Irish border were mistakenly being allowed to dominate proceedings.
Mr Johnson also branded the Treasury – and, by implication, Chancellor Philip Hammond, “the heart of remain”.
Responding to his comments, Mrs May said: “The foreign secretary has strong views on Brexit, but so do I. That’s why I’m getting on with delivering Brexit.”
But on Friday EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier criticised Mrs May’s proposals for a customs arrangement.
He stressed that he was not rejecting the UK prime minister’s ideas – but said any “backstop” to prevent a hard Irish border could not be time-limited.
Mr Barnier said the UK paper “raises more questions than it answers” but would be examined “objectively”.
Mrs May told the BBC: “This is a negotiation, Michel Barnier has said exactly that point.
“We have put a proposal on the table, on this backstop relating to Northern Ireland, we will now sit down and negotiate it with the European Union.”
Divisions between Donald Trump and other leaders of G7 nations were laid bare on the first day of their summit.
The US leader made a surprise call for Russia to be readmitted to the group of top industrialised nations after its expulsion for annexing Crimea.
But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said EU members attending the summit in Canada were all against the idea.
Frictions over trade tariffs recently imposed by the Trump administration continued during Friday’s session.
After meeting French President Emmanuel Macron, Mr Trump said they had a little test once in a while when it came to trade but, he added, they were working it out.
For his part, Mr Macron said he believed all sides were willing to find an agreement.
Reuters news agency cited a French presidential aide as saying the US had agreed to start a trade dialogue with the EU at a technical level in the next two weeks.
Mr Trump is leaving the two-day summit early to head to Singapore for his landmark summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Canada had called Mr Trump’s trade tariffs “illegal” while European Council President Donald Tusk warned that Mr Trump’s stance on trade, climate change and Iran constituted a real danger.
“What worries me most however is the fact that the rules-based international order is being challenged, quite surprisingly not by the usual suspects but by its main architect and guarantor: the US,” he said.
A looming row over trade
What is a trade war?
What is the G7?
It is an annual summit bringing together Canada, the US, the UK, France, Italy, Japan and Germany, which represent more than 60% of global net worth between them.
Economics tops the agenda, although the meetings now always branch off to cover major global issues.
This time they are meeting in the town of La Malbaie in Quebec.
Why this could get awkward
How allies are retaliating against Trump
What was said about Russia?
Mr Trump said: “You know, whether you like it or not – and it may not be politically correct – but we have a world to run and in the G7, which used to be the G8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in.”
Initially, he found support in the shape of the newly installed Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who tweeted that it was “in the interests of everyone” for Russia to be readmitted.
But later Germany’s Angela Merkel said all the EU members there, including Mr Conte, had agreed that Russia could not be readmitted unless there was “progress” on Ukraine. Canada too says it remains opposed.
A Kremlin spokesperson meanwhile said they were interested in “other formats”, apart from the G7.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently in Beijing, where he was presented with a friendship medal by Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
Fellow members of what was then the G8 suspended Russia after it took control of Crimea from Ukraine. Tensions remain, in part over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK.
Controversial Russia-Crimea bridge opens
Trump arrives with a bang
By the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, James Robbins
Relations between Donald Trump and America’s leading allies were already at a new low over trade tariffs before the president casually dropped his Russia hand-grenade.
Most G7 leaders think the decision to expel Russia in 2014 was right then, and remains right today. Even Russia itself seems lukewarm about rejoining.
In many ways, this seems to be a deliberate Donald Trump tactic, to distract attention from his war of words with the rest of the G7 over trade and protectionism.
President Trump dislikes the whole idea of the G7: a club of nations which traditionally comes together around shared values rooted in a world order based on agreed rules. Last to arrive, he’ll also be first to leave.
How do other G7 members see trade?
Mr Trump’s imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium imports has sparked anger, with even US allies falling subject to them. The move has brought fears of a trade war.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland called the tariffs “illegal and absolutely unjustified”.
Mr Trump said on Friday that the US and Canada were working on cutting tariffs “and making it all very fair for both countries”.
“We’ve made a lot progress today,” he said, adding that the relationship between the two countries “is probably better than ever”.
Skip Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump
Looking forward to straightening out unfair Trade Deals with the G-7 countries. If it doesn’t happen, we come out even better!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 8, 2018
End of Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants the EU to act with restraint and proportion in retaliating to the US tariffs.
What else can we expect in Quebec?
The five themes for this year’s summit are:
Inclusive economic growth
Gender equality and women’s empowerment
World peace and security
Jobs of the future
Climate change and oceans
According to the leaders’ programme, Mr Trump will miss the talks on climate change, the environment and probably gender equality on Saturday.
Skip Twitter post by @EmmanuelMacron
Pursuing the conversation. Engaging, keeping the dialogue alive, now & ever. Sharing, reaching out, always, to promote the interests of the French people, and all those who believe in a world we can build together. With President Donald Trump, prior to the opening of G7 Summit. pic.twitter.com/SD5hzLBO0X
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 8, 2018
End of Twitter post by @EmmanuelMacron
The US president was very much the odd man out on climate change during the G7 in Italy last year, later announcing his intention to withdraw from the landmark Paris agreement.
Iran is also a big sticking point. Mr Trump recently ditched the 2015 agreement with Tehran that aimed to curb its nuclear programme. This angered the other signatories who have since sought to shore it up.
Previous G7 meetings have seen huge protests, and about 8,000 soldiers and police officers are expected to be on hand during the Quebec event.
The FBI is investigating after the Chinese government hacked a US Navy contractor and stole highly sensitive security data, US media say.
Data stolen in the breach include plans for a supersonic missile project, US officials told the Washington Post.
The attacks, in January and February this year, were confirmed by CBS News.
Hackers targeted a contractor linked to a US military organisation that conducts research and development for submarines and underwater weaponry.
In a separate development, a former US intelligence officer was convicted on charges of giving top-secret documents to a Chinese agent.
Kevin Mallory, 61, was found guilty under the federal Espionage Act on Friday. He is due to be charged on 21 September and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison, the US justice department said in a statement.
In the case of the US Navy contractor, US officials told the Washington Post that the firm had been working for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, a military organisation based in Newport, Rhode Island.
They added that among the material accessed were data relating to a project known as Sea Dragon, as well as information held within the navy submarine development unit’s electronic warfare library.
Plans included an anti-ship missile system to be installed on US submarines by 2020.
While the data was stored on an unclassified network belonging to the contractor, it is considered highly sensitive due to the nature of the technology under development and the links to military projects.
A commander of the US Navy, Bill Speaks, said that measures were in place requiring companies to notify the government when a “cyber incident” had occurred on networks that contained “controlled unclassified information”.
“It would be inappropriate to discuss further details at this time,” he added.
The investigation is being led by the Navy with the assistance of the FBI, officials said.
On Friday, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis ordered a review into possible cybersecurity issues relating to the contractor, CBS News reports, citing the Pentagon inspector general’s office.
The news comes days before a summit in Singapore at which US President Donald Trump will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who counts Beijing among his allies.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has begun an investigation following claims that traces of meat were found in food classified as vegan or vegetarian.
The Daily Telegraph tested 10 vegan and vegetarian products at Tesco and Sainsbury’s and found meat in two.
Both supermarkets are investigating the claims, but added that preliminary DNA analysis on the products in question had not raised any issues.
The FSA said their priority was to ensure customer confidence.
“Our priority is to ensure consumers can be confident that the food they eat is safe and is what it says it is,” an FSA spokeswoman said.
According to the Telegraph’s investigation, a German government-accredited food testing laboratory found traces of pork in Sainsbury’s own brand Meat Free Meatballs, and traces of turkey in Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen BBQ Butternut Mac.
Sainsbury’s said the meatball product, which carries the widely-respected Vegetarian Society logo, is produced at a meat-free factory.
A statement stressed that Sainsbury’s and the Vegetarian Society carried out regular checks and no issues had been found.
“We are concerned by these findings however, and are carrying out a comprehensive investigation alongside our supplier.”
A Tesco spokesperson urged the Telegraph to share full details of its testing.
“We take the quality and integrity of our products extremely seriously and understand that our vegan and vegetarian products should be exactly that.
“Our initial DNA tests have found no traces of animal DNA in the BBQ Butternut Mac product available in stores today.”
The presence of whole-animal DNA suggests the presence of meat or animal skin in the product, though it could also be traced back to gelatine or oil.
Tony Lewis, head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, told the Telegraph that consumers who had eaten the specified products would be “appalled”.
“If you’re starting to find stuff in food that shouldn’t be there, the question is what else is in there?”
“This is potentially a much wider issue.”
Supermarkets continue to expand their range of meat-free products as the trend towards vegetarian food continues to rise. Veganism is believed to have grown four-fold over the past decade, according to the Vegan Society.
In addition, there are many who do not eat meat for religious or ethical reasons. The Muslim Council of Britain called the findings “distressing”.
The FSA said they were “investigating the circumstances surrounding these alleged incidents and any resulting action will depend upon the evidence found”.
South America’s most successful female tennis player, Maria Esther Bueno of Brazil, has died at the age of 78.
Bueno won 19 major titles during her career in the 1950s and 60s, including three Wimbledon singles titles and four US championships.
She had recently been admitted to hospital suffering from mouth cancer.
A self-taught prodigy, she brought grace to the game and was a dominant force, BBC Americas editor Leonardo Rocha writes.
However, her career was shortened by elbow problems, which she blamed on the heavy wooden rackets of the time.
‘I’m afraid of everyone I play’
Born in the city of Sao Paulo, Bueno made history as the first South American woman to win the Wimbledon singles title.
Despite having no formal coaching in her teenage years, she swept the Brazilian scene before gaining international acclaim by winning the Italian Championships in 1958, beating the best English and Australian players.
She went on to win the Wimbledon doubles that same year alongside American Althea Gibson.
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Bueno then took her first Wimbledon singles title in 1959, along with the US championship title, becoming the world number one and earning her the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year award.
As she received the award, she said: “I’m not good, I’m afraid of everyone I play.”
She took the Wimbledon singles title again in 1960 and 1964.
In 1965, Bueno again won the Wimbledon doubles title, this time with tennis partner Billie Jean King.
She was labelled the “Sao Paulo Swallow” for her ability to dominate the net by former BBC Sport commentator John Barrett.
Retiring from the sport in 1977, she became a commentator herself for the Brazilian channel SporTV.
Bueno was admitted to a hospital in Sao Paulo on Tuesday. On Friday the hospital released a statement confirming her death but declined to provide further details.
Pictures of 10-year-old Tayyaba’s horrifically bruised face caused outrage in Pakistan when they were first uploaded to Twitter in late 2016.
She had been working as a “child maid” in the home of a judge and his wife.
Tayyaba is now living in a home run by the charity SOS Children’s Village. She attends school and seems to be adjusting to her new life, but she still doesn’t find it easy to talk about what happened.
Warning: This story contains graphic images of an injured child
Azmat, one of the carers at the charity, says initially Tayyaba couldn’t bring herself to believe that she no longer had to work.
“She used to think of me in the same way, that I would make her work, that I would beat her. After a month or two she was finally convinced that she doesn’t have to do any sweeping, doesn’t have to wash any dishes, and isn’t going to be beaten.”
The couple employing her denied mistreating Tayyaba but, sitting alongside her carers, she told me she had been beaten by the wife simply for losing a broom. “They also burnt my hands,” she added. The scars are still visible over a year on.
I asked if her parents ever told her why she had to work instead of being able to go to school. “My family had to pay off a debt… that’s what my mum told me.”
Tayyaba grew up in a small, poor village outside the city of Faisalabad, about four hours’ drive south from Islamabad.
Her father, a labourer called Azam, said he sent Tayyaba away after his finger was cut off in an accident.
“I couldn’t work and my wife needed an operation. We needed money, so I asked a friend and she suggested this family.”
Azam claims he was told Tayyaba would be paid just “to play” with the couple’s young children.
Children aren’t legally allowed to work in most businesses in Pakistan, but in the vast majority of the country there’s no law banning them from working inside homes.
Child maids are often required to cook, clean and look after babies – and there are thought to be tens of thousands of them across the country.
‘Take my child’
For some, it’s a business. Irshad Bibi runs an employment agency on the outskirts of Islamabad.
“I find work for children who are at least 12 years old, not younger than 10,” she tells me defensively.
There’s a long queue of families in her office trying to find jobs for their children. One father’s young son and daughter ran away from the last home they were working in, but he’s back because he says he needs the money.
“No parent wants their young child to go and work,” Irshad tells me, “They’re desperate… Here now is a parent crying, saying ‘I am being thrown out of my house, I haven’t even got 5,000 rupees [£32; $43], take my child and get her some work’.”
Irshad says that no child she’s found work for has ever been beaten, but tales of abuse are common and it’s rare that anyone is ever held responsible.
In Pakistan, most criminal cases are filed by victims or their families, rather than by the state. That means, for many crimes, they have the right to drop the charges by stating they forgive the suspects “in the name of God”. In fact, lawyers say the real reason is normally that they are paid off.
Tayyaba’s case did go to court. Maheen Zafar was accused of assault, and her husband, Judge Raja Khurram Ali, was accused of cruelty to a child.
Tayyaba’s father, with the help of his lawyer, tried to have the case dropped. But on this occasion, the Supreme Court overruled his decision, and ordered a trial to take place.
Tayyaba had told officials she had been beaten but her father, Azam, was insistent that the couple employing her couldn’t be guilty.
“What she said to us was, ‘I fell down the staircase,’ not that she was beaten.”
He suggested the police “frightened” Tayyaba into accusing the couple. I asked him how he could be so sure the judge and his wife didn’t mistreat her?
“They have young children themselves, and when you have young children yourself you can’t mistreat other young children.”
He denied he was being paid to drop the case, “They have not put any pressure on us. They have never offered us any money nor made any threats.”
When Tayyaba came to give evidence in court, she repeated the claim that she had been beaten.
However, under cross examination, she contradicted herself and withdrew the claims.
The court observed that Tayyaba seemed to be answering every question posed by the defence lawyers with a simple “yes sir.” One of Tayyaba’s carers, who accompanied her to court, told me her hands had gone cold with fear when she saw the defendants.
Tayyaba’s case attracted a lot of media attention.
Child rights activist Qudsia Mehmood told the BBC the publicity helped efforts to close the legal “loophole” that meant children could be hired as domestic servants in Islamabad.
However, the new law only applied to the capital. Ms Mehmood wants other parts of the country to pass similar legislation. Even if that happens, she acknowledges implementing the law is often a challenge.
Many believe that as long as there are poor families willing to send their children to work, and richer families willing to hire them, the problem will continue.
How are child maids recruited?
Some child maids end up working in homes alongside their parents, or find work locally. But others are recruited by agents.
Irshad Bibi and one of her fast-talking recruitment agents, Sidra, agreed to let me accompany them on a trip to a village to find new potential child maids.
Their phones were constantly ringing – apparently clients looking for child maids.
Walking along the dirt roads I asked Sidra if she ever had to convince families their children would be safe?
“Yes, I have. We say, ‘Send your children, and we’ll look after them.'”
They take me to the home of a family who are hoping to send their 10-year-old daughter to work in Islamabad, about 240km (150 miles) away.
The mother says she’s told her daughter about the plan and that she’s agreed to it. Rabia, the young girl, looks up shyly at me. She’s never worked before, though she tells me she washes the dishes and helps tend the goats at home.
I ask her if she’ll be scared living away from her parents. She shakes her head, “No.”
“We’re poor. We have no choice,” adds her mother. She worked as a maid herself as a child, in the home of the local village landlord.
“The first few days you think, ‘Where am I?’ Then you just put up with it.”
A few weeks later, as the trial of the judge and his wife is due to end, I get a late-night call from Tayyaba’s father Azam.
“I want to tell you the truth,” he says, “Can you come back to my village?”
‘I lied for a bribe’
The “truth”, he says, is that Tayyaba did tell him she was beaten.
“She said that the judge’s wife had burnt her with an iron, and didn’t give her a bed at night.”
He says his lawyer was arranged and paid for by the suspects – and that he convinced Azam to try to get the case dropped.
“He said: ‘This isn’t a bribe, it’s a token of sympathy. Your kids don’t have a home, we’ll get you a house and a car. We’ll help you.’
“If I didn’t speak out against them then I’d get whatever I wanted.”
I tried to pin Tayyaba’s father down as to why he was only now saying this. He said he was fed up with telling lies, and wanted to take custody of his daughter again. But he also admitted it was because the alleged promises to help lift his family out of poverty never materialised.
“I thought OK, whatever has happened has happened, at least the rest of my kids will have a better life. But they haven’t given me anything.”
It’s hard to know exactly what the truth is, but his account was corroborated by a second source who was initially involved in the negotiations.
Tayyaba’s father’s former lawyer says the claims are completely untrue. And that Tayyaba’s father testified in court that he wasn’t under any pressure.
The lawyer representing Raja Khurram Ali and Maheen Zafar told the BBC the claims were malicious and false.
The couple were convicted of neglecting an injured child and sentenced to one year in jail.
They were acquitted of all other charges, including assaulting Tayyaba. They remain free whilst they appeal the verdict.
For Tayyaba though, there is the chance at least of a happy ending. When she grows up, she wants to be a teacher because, she says, children should be in school – not working.
You can watch Secunder Kermani’s documentary, Pakistan’s Child Maids, on BBC World News on Saturday 9 June.
On Tuesday, the world’s attention will be fixed on the historic meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
There have been months of diplomatic gyrations leading up to this point, and there are four leaders who could plausibly claim some credit for making this once unimaginable summit possible.
But which of them has really directed this piece of political theatre? Here are four scenarios.
Kim Jong-un: master puppeteer
The North Korean leader wants to achieve what his father and grandfather never could – a meeting with the US president which would, in his eyes, cement his legitimacy. But what will also secure his legacy is the economic development his country desperately needs and Mr Kim has his eye on that prize too.
To achieve this long-held desire he has dramatically shifted in character from isolated angry strongman to international statesman.
After months of fiery rhetoric and steady nuclear progress, the North Korean leader used a speech at New Year to open the door to dialogue with the South. Relations warmed rapidly, hitting a crescendo soon after with the first meeting of Korean leaders in more than decade.
Throughout he has controlled the spectacle.
Sending a delegation to the Olympic Games helped to improve North Korea’s image. And he memorably took the South Korean president by the hand, when they met at the border of their two countries, physically leading him back over into North.
When Mr Trump dramatically pulled out of the summit – angered by North Korea calling his vice-president “stupid” – Mr Kim’s almost comically sized letter played a part in the optics of rapprochement.
The young leader has been swept to centre stage by two new props: his unprecedented nuclear capability and an unconventional US president. And by exploiting that serendipity, he has brought the US to the table.
Also, by ensuring that missiles and nuclear weapons are forefront of the international community’s mind, he has ensured there won’t be any talk about human rights at these meetings.
Yet many close observers doubt the once hostile leader’s appetite for peace. The Lowy Institute’s international security director Euan Graham says Mr Kim has relied on the classic North Korean playbook, swinging predictably from provocation to engagement. So that could yet swing back again.
Donald Trump: The ultimate dealmaker
Mr Trump has positioned himself as the only one who could make progress on the North Korean threat, and in so doing, declared world peace within reach. He says it is his “maximum pressure” approach that enabled a breakthrough that his successors could not.
Never straying from the Art of the Deal, Mr Trump said he would leave the meeting if he didn’t like where it was heading.
And then he did. The US president claimed “open hostility” forced him to pull out of the summit.
Trump and Kim: An on/off bromance
The tricky task of preparing for the summit
Mr Trump was able to portray North Korea’s scramble to convince him to stay in the talks as a victory – but also to redefine the terms of the talks. It gave him room to move from demanding North Korea totally give up its nuclear weapons to accepting that could be a phased process.
Mr Trump already has two big wins to show his domestic audience – he welcomed home three US detainees on their release from North Korea and can show them Pyongyang’s destruction of its only nuclear test site.
Poll numbers that showed most Americans – on both sides of the aisle – approve of his handling of North Korea.
Moon Jae-in: Charm to disarm
The South Korean leader has been playing this game the longest. Back in 2007, he served as a top aide to then president Roh Moo-hyun at the last Korean leaders summit.
The 65-year-old wants reunification to be his legacy and was elected in part on the promise of taking South Korea in that direction. And so a determined Mr Moon has adopted the role of mediator.
The political gamble of the 21st Century
Who is Moon Jae-in?
The cheerful emissary sought to please Washington and Pyongyang, and if buffeted by the turbulence, was never deterred.
He has not shied from using flattery either – he was the first to say Mr Trump could be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
The wheels have not stopped spinning – from his first meeting with Mr Kim to the surprise one a month later – and nor outwardly has his optimism.
To achieve the goal of reconciliation and Korean integration, he needs the US-North Korea summit to take place.
Xi Jinping: The hidden player
The Chinese leader’s role is the most opaque. China – North Korea’s only ally – has long pushed for dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang.
When Mr Kim first emerged from international isolation this year it was for a secret meeting with Xi Jinping. A second trip followed soon after.
Speculation swirled over whether that discussion had steeled North Korea to take a firmer line with the US.
One week after the leaders smiled over tea in Dalian, Pyongyang returned to old form, lobbing blistering attacks at the US. Donald Trump himself raised suspicions that a visit to China had sparked Mr Kim’s change in tone.
Why Xi is till the one Kim needs to see
Exactly what hand Mr Xi is playing isn’t clear.
Beijing wants the summit, says Yun Sun, director of the China program at the Stimson Centre, relieved for any de-escalation in tension.
But it doesn’t want to be excluded from the talks, and Ms Sun says China flits between “war anxiety and exclusion anxiety”. Mr Xi’s agenda remains hidden, and muddied by its complicated relationship with both North Korea, and the US.
What is clear is that it was only once China threw its weight behind economic sanctions that North Korea started talking.