Sufian Qazi |
Kim Jong-Un’s recent visit to China, his first official errand since he consolidated power in 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong-Un, marked history. Reportedly, during the meeting with President Xi, he pledged to ‘give up’ nuclear ambitions if the United States and South Korea hinted ‘good will’.
Ostensibly, it is a positive move by the North Korean regime which is scrambling due to economic and political sanctions; the regime is facing severe isolation on the international stage. Even, its only friend and major trading partner, China, nodded ‘yes’ when it came to tightening embargos on the Kim’s regime in the security council.
Undoubtedly, China deems nuclearization of Korean Peninsula as a humanitarian threat (if not a strategic): North Korean closest nuclear facility is inside the 60 miles radius of Chinese population, near the Chinese border. In case of any mishap – for instance: 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan– vast Chinese population will be bearing the cost.
The dialogue failed to open a new window of ‘talks’, then it will squeeze US’s options to deal with North Korea, and consequences could be dangerous. The world, especially South Korea and Japan, will be eyeing on the meeting because stakes are higher than ever.
Mr. Trump’s agreement to hold an unprecedented summit with Mr. Kim astonished many observers, though; the place of the meeting has not been yet decided. But it is expected that the meeting will held at a neutral place in May – most likely in the Switzerland. Meanwhile, South Korea and the US are gearing up for annual military drills from coming Monday, which has historically provoked North Korea.
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Donald Trump may brag that his aggressive tweets – or so-called his ‘Big Buttons’ – have worked. Perhaps, the reality is contrary: they didn’t. Probably, Kim understands international politics better than Mr. Trump. Kim knows the reality that he cannot play ‘cat and mouse’ for long. Eventually, he has to come on negotiating table. But, in this regard, he wants some leverage (or in the words of Kim: ‘conditions’) to get maximum compensation from the international community. What could serve well as leverage than a fear of another nuclear test or inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM)?
But, Mr. Kim must have seen what happened with the Libyan Colonel Gadhafi after he gave up nuclear weapons. Now, the question is: does North Korea really willing to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula? Many experts are still skeptical keeping the reflections of regime’s previous engagements in the dialogue process, which eventually upheld obsolete. For some, it’s a time-gain-tactic till North Korea further matures its nuclear programme.
Ostensibly, it is a positive move by the North Korean regime which is scrambling due to economic and political sanctions; the regime is facing severe isolation on the international stage.
Previously, president Trump and former US secretary of state Rex Tillerson vowed vigorously that all options are on the table including the ‘military’ one, but practically it’ll be highly costly, and could lead to a ‘worst humanitarian crisis’, the history has ever seen.
China does not want turmoil, and in fact the presence of the US troops, in its backyard; moreover, the Chinese fear an inflow of refugees that could halt China’s swiftly growing economic prosperity. President Xi Jinping, now the lifetime president of People Republic of China after an amendment in communist party’s constitution, urged settlement of the dispute through peaceful means, fearing further intensification could be distressing for his country.
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North Korea had an intense old ambition for a high level meeting with the US. However, the US has been resisting to any such move because it’ll provide legitimacy to the Kim regime at home and abroad. Nonetheless, the meeting between North Korean leader and the US President is encouraging to deescalate tensions in the Korean Peninsula. It could be a precursor for a series of dialogues; as diplomacy is the only way out to mitigate this crisis.
On the other side, if the dialogue failed to open a new window of ‘talks’, then it will squeeze US’s options to deal with North Korea, and consequences could be dangerous. The world, especially South Korea and Japan, will be eyeing on the meeting because stakes are higher than ever.