Singapore Summit & Peace In Northeast
Following United States President Donald J. Trump’s Singapore session with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un the Northeast Asia’s military and strategic landscapes are potentially recast around the world’s last Cold War-era frontier.
The prospect of a diplomatic breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula after 65 years of a tense ceasefire that brought hostilities between North and South Korea now seems to be coming to an end.
After a short one-on-one meeting in Singapore on 12th day of last month with North Korean leader Kim Jung-un, US President Donald J. Trump returned home in a jubilant mood. Trump immediately tweeted saying “Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office.”
“There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea. I have solved that problem.” President Trump wrote further on Twitter.
In Singapore, President Trump suggested North Korean leader that he would like to end annual military exercises with South Korea which is a major, longstanding North Korean demand and gave Kim lots of wiggle room on the future of his nuclear weapons, replacing calls for an immediate or even a speedy denuclearisation process with a virtual shrug.
The joint statement issued by the two leaders has clearly mentioned that North Korea committed “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
President Trump emphasises the importance of personal relationships, and he claimed to have developed one with Kim in a matter of hours. Thus, looking forward from the Singapore Summit, there is the possibility that the Washington and Pyongyang will be able to reach agreements on many relevant issues. So, calculating the outcome now the US-North Korea relations are in a better place than they were before June 12 creating the environment of peace shadowing the chances of war when North Korea was conducting nuclear and missile tests.
Diplomatic circle believed what North Korean leader Kim really needed from his unprecedented summit with US President Trump was to keep his nuclear arsenal intact for the time being and get a decent handshake photo to show he has truly arrived on the world stage. While offering no solid promises to abandon his hard-won nuclear arsenal any time soon, Kim got to stand as an equal with the leader of the world’s most powerful nation.
The success of the summit wasn’t a foregone conclusion. To sweeten the deal for Washington, Kim also made a major show before foreign media of the closure of his countries’ nuclear test site, returned three American prisoners and announced a unilateral moratorium on further nuclear tests and long-range missile launches.
The North Korean leader’s primary objective could be surely the survival of his regime, and of himself as leader, preferably for several decades, given his youth. Outright collapse of the North Korean economy and mass starvation, or nuclear war with the United States are both bad outcomes from his point of view, because both would destabilise or end his regime.
At present, North Korea is unacceptably dependent on China, with whom it shares 90 per cent of its limited foreign trade. With only one buyer and one seller, it is very unlikely that North Korea gets a fair deal in its trading relationships. However, Russia also shares a 17 km land border with North Korea. Having a cordial relations, Russia’s heavy industry-oriented economy can make use of North Korea’s mineral resources.
It should be noted that North Korea has an enormous advantage over the Central Asian members of this quartet that has access to the sea, and hence to international trade routes. Being an optimistic, a Trump-Kim summit offered a chance for a deal that is beneficial to all sides including superlative advantage to the North Korean people.
However, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in is promoting a “New Northern Policy” with wider grand diplomacy on the peninsula involving Washington, Beijing and Moscow underlines that the geopolitical tectonic plates are speeding up in the North East Asia. Behind the curtain there might be some nations. But without doubt, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in deserves the most credit for creating the summit of the President Trump and Leader Kim leading the second edition of the Sunshine Policy to establish peace in the only divided nations in the world.
The reclusive leader of North Korea, Kim agreed to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula with South Korea and the US became a reality after he made his first trip out of the hermit nation, visiting Beijing and meeting President Xi Jinping.
Although conflicts and confrontations have raged between the two Koreas across the DMZ for over sixty-five years, an atmosphere of dialogue and exchange and cooperation was fostered temporarily between the two countries following the Summits held in 2000 and 2007.
President Trump has come to realise again that Asia is a more pleasant place for him to be than Europe. Personal relations can be an important dimension of foreign affairs, especially when nations lack mutual experience, interdependence or reason to trust one another, as has been true for seven long decades between Washington and Pyongyang.
It would be a profound achievement if Trump and Kim were able to manage a similar success sooner for the fulfillment of the world’s realistic goal of complete denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula.
In North Korea, state media praised leader Kim for “opening a new chapter” in relations with the United States, and said President Trump had accepted an invitation to visit North Korea. They also described the summit as an “epoch-making meeting” that would help foster “a radical switchover in the most hostile North Korea-US relations.”
Anyway, Singapore Summit was a major coup for an isolated and heavily sanctioned regime that has long craved international legitimacy. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un got what he wanted at the Singapore Summit including the international prestige and respect of one-on-one meeting with the sitting American President and the legitimacy of North Korean flags hanging next to American flags in the background.
The world believes that the Singapore meeting will truly bear fruits, dismantling the Cold War legacy to restore peace and reunify the 70 million Koreans.
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