Is Korea nearing peace?
The meeting between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in on April 27 was one that set a historical precedent. It resembled the fall of the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin in 1989, in which decades of isolation finally ended. The stark contrast between democracy and repression appeared to dissolve. The meeting in Panmunjom, a small village on the militarized border, between the two leaders felt dreamlike, almost as if it guaranteed peace.
However, it is necessary to be cautious. To many, the entire meeting gave an impression that Kim may have finally come to his senses and North Korea will somehow transition to a peaceful regime. The 2018 inter-Korean summit was a psychological manipulation with the entire location and “symbolism” working to lure North Korea’s sole and inexperienced leader, Kim, into warming up to South Korea.
It appeared as if a school teacher had a conversation with the classroom troublemaker. But, there could be many reasons for this meeting taking place.
For one, China does not want North Korea to attack any country because that would jeopardize its position with the United States. China also does not want any country to retaliate and cause conflict on its eastern border.
China and North Korea stand against South Korea, Japan and the United States. President Donald Trump’s strategy of dialogue and economic pressure with China was a brilliant way to pressure North Korea toward negotiation. It was incredibly risky but it has yielded positive results so far.
The second underlying reason is economic. North Korea is crippled by sanctions placed upon it by the international community. The sanctions are retarding the North’s ability to carry out additional progress in regard to its nuclear program.
Many others proclaim the underlying reasons for the talks are that Kim has a trick up his sleeve. Until proven otherwise, the United States must be cautious while pursuing real progress.
The event, in terms of cooperation and dialogue, should serve as a precedent to many countries around the world who also have bitter conflicts. Conflicting countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia should all strive to open lines of communication and have bilateral agreements that work toward peace.
Peace does not necessarily mean giving up weapons. Whoever possesses the most weapons will dictate law and inevitably write history in their favor.
If North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons, this will pose a gigantic risk to Kim’s regime and would be foolish on his part. It is incredibly lucky for the South Koreans that Kim is quite different from his father and grandfather who were notoriously nationalistic and more aggressive.
Kim’s Western education in Switzerland and his inexperience may be the reason for his downfall. Perhaps a civil war within North Korea may erupt, or the North Korean population will swarm into South Korea in the near future. Kim may be tried for crimes against humanity.
There is no way to know until real progress occurs. It is important to understand that peace is a very tedious and long process, but definitely a worthy one.