“Anyone can make war, but only the most courageous can make peace.”

Today’s story starts with a historic handshake on a stage set in Singapore. Two global leaders shook hands dramatically, trying to discover a path towards peace. Donald Trump, the President of America stepped towards Kim Jong Un as they shared smiles and decided to have a better and more coordinated future ahead.

 

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Before starting with the present, we have tried to cover a short history of the Korean Peninsula- as the events unfolded in time. We shift our focus towards the recent past when a war of words surfaced between the two powers. The world markets and economies felt the disturbances as the two economies shared threats.

The threats continue as analysts feel reluctant to believe the true intentions behind the signed deals. The future–thus– remains vague.

 

A Brief History of the North Korea- American Ties

Long long ago, around 70 years back, the Korean War Erupted. In the well known Korean War, the Cross-border skirmish at the 38th parallel went on to become an open warfare. This ended in the division of the Korean Peninsula under the influence of the US and the former USSR.

Effectively, South Korea became a US-backed attempt at democracy with their relationship evolved over the years. In 1953, South Korea and the US made a military alliance called “the relationship forged in blood”. This stationed around 29,000 troops in South Korea.

While North Korea became a Soviet-supported communist regime led by Kim Il-sung, grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong-un. Though the USSR disintegrated in 1991, the country surprised the world displaying its evolving nuclear strength. This worries the US and other countries with increasing geopolitical tensions.

Trump Vs Kim: Exchanging Taunts

The irritation started in 2016 when North Korea tested Hydrogen Bomb which irritated Trump. Trump blames China for having “total control over North Korea”. Though Trump said that he would speak to Kim, he could never do the same.

With time, Kim started testing more and more missiles. This was considered a geopolitical equivalent of a Facebook “poke”. Each of the fires was harmless but impossible to ignore. This created geopolitical tensions across the world.

Trump took these threats badly, responding that Kim had taken the wrong track. Kim didn’t back off, he hit back by comparing Trump to “a frightened dog”.

“I will surely and definitely tame that mentally deranged US dotard with Fire” He shot. The twitter comments went as below:

1

With Trump’s provocative message, Kim casually mentioned that “a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office”.  

This touched Trump’s nerves, who retaliated by saying- “I too have a nuclear button, but it is much bigger and more powerful one than his, and my button works!”

2

First Steps: South Korea and North Korea

Aiming for transformation, President Moon- Jae-In of the Republic of Korea held an Inter- Korean Summit at Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.

The two leaders declared that there would be no more war in the Korean Peninsula. Further, the deal included:

  • The two countries would fully implement all existing agreements and declarations adopted between the two sides thus far.
  • They would take active measures to implement agreements reached the Summit.
  • They agreed to make joint efforts to alleviate the military tension and eliminate the danger of war and to cease hostile activities against each other.
  • The two nations also agreed to devise a practical scheme to turn areas around the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea
  • That they will cooperate to establish a solid peace regime on the Korean peninsula. 

Apart from these, they also decided to hold frequent and sincere discussions through direct telephonic conversations and make constant efforts towards the advancement of inter-Korean relations and work towards unification of Korean Peninsula.  

The Deal Unfolded

The meeting between Trump and Kim began on a serious note at Capella Hotel in Singapore. Soon, the mood turned to light as the leaders were seen smiling and talking. As they sat alongside, the two leaders built an amicable ambiance.

“It is my honor and we will have a terrific relationship, I have no doubt,” Trump said.

Mr. Kim Replied: “… there were obstacles, but we overcame them to be here”

After the meeting, the two teams met for lunch. Post lunch, Mr. Trump told the reporters that the meeting was “very progressive” and better than expected.

The setup was dramatic as if a new history was about to be made. Too dramatic, some say with cold breaths. Many were disappointed, the rest had hoped. Though the American President Donald Trump called the agreement a “comprehensive deal” and stated that it would “take care of a big and dangerous problem of the world”, many experts explicitly disagreed.

A document articulating the deal states four main points:

  1. Moving away from the fiery approach towards each other, the two powers looked forward to having peace and prosperity. It includes a change in Kim’s approach towards better economic growth. 3
  2. A step towards ‘stable’ peace and prosperity.4
  3. The agreement looks forward to having a completely ‘denuclearized’ Korean Peninsula. However, the success of this agreement remains in doubt. This is a simple restatement of Kim’s talks with the South Korean leader and gives absolutely no proof of CVID (certified, verified and irreversible) dismantlement North Korea’s nuclear weapons.5
  4. In the 1950-53 Korean War, several prisoners went missing. According to “Stars and Stripes”, a famous American Military Newspaper, there are an estimated 5300 missing American service members whose remains are still recoverable.   6

The question arises, what are the pitfalls of the deal?

 

Will it Work?

The doubts have been centered around the historical stance of Kim towards the global leadership. For years, Kim has been shunning democracy, promoting nuclearization and mocking various global leaders including leaders of the US, Japan, South Korea and China.

Kim has been proud of Korea’s Nuclear programme and had been continuously promoting its efforts. About a year ago, among the many comments given by North Korea, one comment had clearly indicated that North Korea could “Sink a US aircraft career to demonstrate its military might’.

Following this comment, the quick shift towards denuclearization remained a bone of content for many.  

Bringing another point to the table. The Washington Post writes: “North Korean women have plenty of reasons to say me too…” Surprisingly <or maybe strategically>, US decided not to bring up human rights at the meeting.  

North Korea is one of the worst abusers in the world. In 2017, a panel of experts released a report for political prisoners in concentration camps. The experts told that these were comparable to Nazi Concentration Camps. Thus, various experts believe that these humongous human right violations must not have been ignored by the Trump Administration.

Conclusive remarks

We must remember that peace can be achieved only through mutual coordination and willingness. The path ahead is unclear and vague, and global markets remain anticipative of the future unfoldings. The old saying still holds true– “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

With this quote, me and my co-writer bid adieu. We wish the best for the junior batch through their processes and beyond.

References:

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2018/03/14/somethings-not-right-about-the-kim-trump-summit-and-its-not-what-you-think/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2018/jun/12/kim-and-trump-meet-in-singapore-in-pictures

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/04/28/asia-pacific/denuclearization-korean-peninsula-faces-many-hurdles/#.Wy59r6czZPY

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/386269-on-denuclearizing-the-korean-peninsula-and-building-a

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-southkorea-summit-announce/north-south-korea-agree-to-goal-of-complete-denuclearization-of-korean-peninsula-idUSKBN1HY11I

https://www.rferl.org/a/putin-moon-back-denuclearization-of-korean-peninsula-hail-economic-links/29314158.html

https://www.cfr.org/interactives/campaign2016/donald-trump/on-north-korea

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/timeline-donald-trump-and-kim-jong-un-relations/article24141379.ece

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-44433954

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/11/trump-kim-summit-north-korea-hails-new-era-of-relations-with-the-us

http://abc7news.com/politics/pres-trump-and-north-korea-a-timeline-of-events/3517451/

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/06/trump-kim-summit/562346/

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2018-06-11/denuclearizing-the-korean-peninsula-video

 

 

 

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