Within a week’s time will sit face to face two antipodal nations, with a determination to meet their ends of a peace deal long in the making. But the underlying apprehensions, of whether or not the appropriate two parties are negotiating and whether the summit’s agenda would achieve something landmark, still remain unanswered. The United States and North Korea will represent in Singapore, not only their highly ideological and volatile political setups, but also their complex demands from each other.
While the United States will definitely want North Korea to give into its demands to cease its nuclear program, allow investigation of its nuclear sites and declare its current arsenal of nuclear weapons, the North Koreans on their part would want an end to US – South Korea military activities in their surrounding seas and for the US to vow to never attack North Korea.1 These demands, especially those of the United States are highly reminiscent of the limitation and other miscellaneous arms treaties signed between the US and the Soviet Union throughout the Cold war, none of which could end the tensions between the two countries.2 The result between the United States and North Korea could end up being the same, owing to their stubborn leaderships and headstrong characteristics.
Given this factor, the United States’ commitment to the denuclearization of North Korea, as important as it may be, should logically be undermined by the larger prospect of good North – South relations. Such a dynamic would essentially end the inflammable nature of politics on the peninsula, allow travel and sharing of knowledge between the two nations and help them to reunite Korea,3 a goal that is now openly shared between the leaders of the two nations. Despite the the level of cooperation and friendliness existing between Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae In, it was Donald Trump’s absurd commentary on Twitter that eventually forced an emergency stop to North – South harmony. In this way the United States proved to be nothing but an unnecessary presence that only brought hindrance to the reconciliation process of the two Korean nations. In a hypothetical situation, Kim and Moon would have probably agreed to fostering better socio-economic relations between their countries which would have compelled the North to cease its nuclear program without any US intervention. Also, Just the North and South Koreas negotiating would make the process personal and more symbolic, considering that the US’s demands do not concern legally ending the Korean War or reuniting Korea.
What the US brings to the Korean negotiations is nothing but speed bumps, with Jae In having to clean up after Trump and retrace his steps to eventual peace with Kim Jong Un.
1 Borger, Julian, (2018), “What will be the outcome of Trump and Kim Jong Un’s nuclear summit?”, Washington, The Guardian, 6th June 2018
2 Easton, Yukari, (2018), “Why the US – North Korea Talks Will fail”, The Diplomat, 6th June 2018 https://thediplomat.com/2018/05/why-us-north-korea-talks-will-fail/
3 Reuters News Agency, (2018), “North Korea seeks ‘Closer South Korea ties, reunification’”, Al Jazeera, 6th June 2018 https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/03/north-korea-seeks-closer-south-korea-tiesreunification-180306062814201.html