News Analysis |
Last week, the United States and South Korea were flabbergasted over North Korea’s sudden change of attitude over joint military drills between the US and South Korean air forces. In his meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump hoped to gain clarity on North Korea’s nuclear intentions.
In reaction to the drills, North Korean vice foreign minister went on to state that if the US continued the same bullying approach toward North, we might consider pulling out of scheduled summit ahead on June 12 in Singapore.
State department and Trump’s aides were caught by surprise with this sudden flip, which was shocking as the dialogue process and confidence building was at its peak following President Moon and Kim Jong Un’s meeting last month, in the demilitarized zone.
But President Trump finally responded when prompted by a reporter about the abrupt shift in North Korean stance by saying that he does not feel that the meeting is going to commence any time soon, or at least it is highly unlikely to take place on June 12th as initially planned. “We’re moving along. We’ll see what happens,” Mr. Trump said. “There are certain conditions we want to happen. I think we’ll get those conditions. And if we don’t, we won’t have the meeting. “If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later. Maybe it will happen at a different time. We will see. We are talking.”
Donald Trump considers China to be the reason behind the rough tone of North Korean officials. Recently, Kim Jong Un went to meet President Xi Jinping on a secret visit to China where he must have taken President Xi into confidence about the recent diplomatic developments. China has traditionally been an ally of North, particularly in the times when looming clouds of economic sanctions were making it hard for latter to sustain the state affairs. But as soon as Kim Jong Un, the North Korean Supreme Commander, decided to go down the lane of diplomacy rather bullying, which he had been doing since taking power, China was left out of the loop during the process. However, Beijing conveyed the resentment it shared for being ignored through backdoor channels which resulted in Kim’s visit as reparation.
North Korea was displeased with the way Trump’s new National Security Advisor John R. Bolton used the analogy of Libyan voluntary nuclear disarmament in 2003 as a template for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The irking is understandable as it is evident how it turned out for Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi later who was killed by his own people, as a result of the massive public movement against him which was backed by the United States of America. Mr. Trump subsequently disavowed Mr. Bolton’s remarks, acknowledging that Libya’s voluntary disarmament in 2003 did nothing to protect its leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, from being killed by his own people in the Arab upheavals less than a decade later. Speaking last week, the president offered assurances to Mr. Kim that if he agreed to give up his nuclear arsenal, he would survive in power and his people would prosper. But the tone in North Korea’s media has remained suspicious and grudging.
“We’re moving along. We’ll see what happens”
President Moon of South Korea has acted as the bridge between both impulsive leaders to bring them to the negotiations table. Despite recent row resulting from hard comments from both sides, South Korea is still very much confident that meeting will take place as scheduled on June 12th. “We believe there is a 99.9 percent chance the North Korea-U.S. summit will be held as scheduled,” Mr. Moon’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, said to reporters traveling to Washington. “But we’re just preparing for many different possibilities.”Mr. Chung said the two leaders would have “candid discussions on how to make the North-U.S. summit a success and produce significant agreements and how to best implement those agreements.” He insisted that Washington and Seoul were closely coordinating their efforts.
President Moon of South Korea has acted as the bridge between both impulsive leaders to bring them to the negotiations table.
The announcement of Trump-Kim summit was a ray of hope in the resolution of the long military standoff between two Koreas. Military tension in the Korean peninsula is probably the most significant and high stake issue of the contemporary world which needs to be dealt with extreme care as it has the potential to transform into a major catastrophe by one single miscalculated move.