The political and diplomatic relations between North Korea and the United States have been historically hostile, developing primarily during the Korean War. In recent years relations have been largely defined by North Korea's nuclear program – six tests of nuclear weapons, its development of long-range missiles capable of striking targets thousands of miles away, and its ongoing threats to strike the United States and South Korea with nuclear weapons and conventional forces. During his presidency, George W. Bush referred to North Korea as part of "the Axis of Evil" because of the threat of its nuclear capabilities.
Support among the American public for US forces to defend South Korea has increased steadily. While it was at a mere 26% in 1990, it has now nearly tripled to 62%. A majority of the American public also have a positive view of Moon Jae-In, the South Korean President as of 2017.
In 2015, according to Gallup's annual World Affairs survey, only 9% of Americans have a favorable view of North Korea, while 87% of Americans have a negative view. According to a 2014 BBC World Service Poll, only 4% of Americans view North Korea's influence positively with 90% expressing a negative view, one of the most negative perceptions of North Korea in the world.
Despite fears of a massive conflict, a détente began to develop when on March 8, 2018, the White House confirmed that Trump would accept a meeting invitation from Kim Jong-un. At the time, they were supposed to meet in May. On May 15, 2018, North Korea cut off talks with South Korea and threatened to cancel the planned U.S.-North Korea summit, citing military exercises between the United States and South Korea. This cancellation was quickly reversed when Trump received an uncharacteristically friendly reply from Kim. On June 12, 2018, Trump and Kim met at the summit in Singapore, in the first summit meeting between the leaders of the two countries. Over the course of the summit, the two leaders engaged in several discussions and signed a joint statement calling for security, stability, and lasting peace.