Alwaght- On Saturday, the US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). This is the first time an American president steps in the North Korean soil. The dramatic development has come in a condition the peace talks between the two leaders have so far gone nowhere despite the two meetings one held in Singapore and the other in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi which was described a total failure. The two sides have seen an impasse in the course of the negotiations amid an escalation of tensions and verbal clashes between their leaders. Still, now everybody is waiting to see how the Saturday short meeting can break the deadlock which has been a case providing material for the home critics of the president attacking his way of handling the foreign policy cases in a new wave of criticism.
Real aspects of the meeting
The area the meeting took place in is the demilitarized zone located in the village of Panmunjom, or Ceasefire Village. The DMZ is 4 kilometers wide and 250 kilometrs long. A day before, Trump, while in Japan’s Osaka city for G20 summit, in a Twitter message expressed an interest to meet Kim Jong-un.
“If he’s there we’ll see each other for two minutes,” his Twitter post read.
The two countries failed to go further in their talks after the two leaders met in Hanoi on February 27-28. Having in mind that after the second summit the outlook of Washington-Pyongyang agreement totally disappeared, such a “handshake meeting” at the request of the American leader primarily serves as a show Trump takes advantage of for his own campaign for the 2020 presidential race.
Part of Trump’s escalatory policy in the Korean Peninsula is aimed at “de-Obamizing” the US policy in the region. After the meeting, Trump said that under his predecessor Barack Obama the US begged North Korea for a meeting but Pyongyang rejected. So, meeting Kim as the presidential race nears will paint Trump as a man struggling to de-escalate the nuclear tensions with the North that could pose risk to the lives of the American and world people. This tactic of security making after destabilizing moves was followed also after the 9/11 attacks by the Republicans in a bid to get the public on board of their agenda.
Professor John Berg of University of Michigan following an investigation after the September 9, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Organization in New York and elsewhere in the US concluded that the people in the life-threatening conditions politically tend to the neoconservatives in the country. Findings of another investigation suggest that when people get conservative, they cannot withstand a statue of uncertainty and so they conclude that what the president says is true.
The New York Times listed 117 statements of the first six months of Trump presidency which were bought by his supporters without a clear objection from them. The newspaper notes that frightened people accept the incorrect implications that create in them a sense of security and safety. Following three years of the nuclear standoff with the North, Trump met with Kim to tell the American voters he is the guarantor of their security against the risk posed from the Peninsula. When he sat by Kim, Trump said: “it’s a great day for the world.”
The future of negotiations
The US top priority over the past few years has been containing China. Driven by this approach, Trump seeks to fuel tensions, and chaos if possible, to destroy the current order and bring a new one in which China is fully checked. So, the president will not hurry to reach an accord with Pyongyang as long as he is sure that North Korea denuclearization case provides an instrument to curb a thriving China and strengthen Washington’s allies in the face of Beijing. During his meeting with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea in Seoul Trump said that he was not in a hurry to lift the nuclear sanctions from the North.
On the other side, Pyongyang is aware that Washington’s delay of a conclusion to the talks is deliberate and so its leaders move ahead with two tactics simultaneously. First, Pyongyang keeps the door open to dialogue. The North’s leader in early June wrote to Trump saying that he wants warm relations with Washington. Second, it bolsters ties with other powers. After the failure of Hanoi meeting, Chairman Jong-un visited Russia and met with the Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to gain Moscow’s support in the middle of nuclear talks’ uncertainty. In a press conference, Putin at the time said that North Korea needs the international community’s security guarantees in order for the denuclearization process to go ahead.
The Chinese President Xi Jinping before meeting Trump at the G20 summit last week visited North Korea on June 20 amid warm reception. Kim visited China twice in less than a year. By promoting regional relations mainly with Russia and China, Pyongyang seeks to thwart the American pressures.
Last Thursday, the US affairs department head at North Korean foreign ministry told South Korea it is no longer needed to mediate between Pyongyang and Washington.
The denuclearization process is expected to last several years at best as it is directly related to the Pyongyang government’s security and existence and Trump does not want to give any credible security guarantees.
As a conclusion, with regard to Pyongyang’s pessimism to Washington and mistrust in Trump’s promises, the current policy towards North Korea is not but material for consumption to satisfy the allies, win the American people’s vote, and prevent the North’s total disappointment with the future of negotiations.