Friday, Aug. 24, 2018|2 a.m.
Seoul, South Korea– View more of the Sun’s viewpoint section
Top fever nowadays is as hot as the weather. We face weeks of heated dispute in the run-up to a 3rd summit in between South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and possibly a second top in between President Donald Trump and Kim. The Moon-Kim summit is going to check Moon’s willingness to stand up to Kim.The overriding North Korean demands are for the South to get the United States and the United Nations to do away with sanctions, and for the United States to fall for a “peace statement” before the North does an aspect of “denuclearization,” nevertheless that word is specified. Moon has actually agreed to see Kim in Pyongyang in September, however he has actually prevented setting a date. His hesitation about when to go to Pyongyang contributes to unpredictability about how to respond to the North’s demands.Contrary to what his critics might say, Moon may not be a piece of cake for Kim. Yes, he would like absolutely nothing much better than to decrease in Korean history as the South Korean leader who caused reconciliation with the North. No, he does not wish to achieve that objective by betraying the U.S.-South Korean alliance, by coming up with a deal with the North that would jeopardize South Korea’s defenses and by quiting all bargaining power on denuclearization.Moon would enjoy to have it
both methods, to sign a statement in Pyongyang on basic principles for peace that still does not yield completely to all that Kim wants. Above all, he has got to make it clear that North Korea has to take considerable steps towards quiting its nuclear program. In deference to the North’s sensitivities, the United States seems to have dropped the term “total, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization,” but bad allusions to plain old denuclearization in the North’s state media suggest they don’t care much for that concept either.That’s since the North stays deeply committed to its status as the world’s ninth nuclear weapons state and is not going to climb up down no matter whatever deal is reached. If the United States were to accompany a”peace statement,” accepting some unclear ambivalent guarantees about denuclearization, there would be no way to bring the North to terms. For the United States and South Korea, their bargaining power rests on the sanctions embraced by the United States and the United Nations after the North’s missile and nuclear tests, most recently last September.There is, however, a counter-argument. So what if the North has a couple of dozen nuclear warheads in storage? What does it matter if they’re still establishing the long-range rockets to”deliver “them to distant targets, and who cares if they’ve got biological and chemical weapons too? You don’t hear too many people in South Korea or the United States, fretting about imminent nuclear attack. The factor for the lack of seriousness is that no one rather thinks Kim is going to fire away genuine understanding the holy hell that would come down on him if he did.North Korea, however, has other ways of weakening South Korean and American willpower, notably by unending emphasis on a” peace statement”that would wind up endangering the peace that has actually dominated the Korean Peninsula considering that the armistice was signed at Panmunjom more than 65 years ago.The reason the North wants this otherwise useless statement is that it would result in a” peace treaty”under which the United States would have to withdraw most of the 28,500 troops it still has in South Korea. No, North Korea would definitely not begin to draw back the thousands of artillery pieces or hundreds of countless troops poised within striking distance of the South. In reality, their capability to attack the South, as they performed in 1950, would be improved as the South follows through on the idea of deserting its 60 approximately guard posts south of the DMZ. That done, does anyone think the North would give up its 160 guard posts on the other side of the line?These are a few of concerns and concerns Moon and his consultants might be asking as Moon considers going to Pyongyang, paying obeisance to the ruler from the North who believes he can force his hand with smooth talk and alarming cautions. For Moon, the obstacle will be to stroll through this minefield without stepping on any mines, as Trump performed in Singapore when he was led to think he and Kim had solved the entire nuclear concern. Donald Kirk has actually been a writer for the Korea Times and South China Morning Post, among other newspaper and publications. He composed this for InsideSources.com.