By N. P. Upadhyaya
It may be taken as the effective use of what could be coined as “Trumplomacy” which surprised millions and millions of political brains all over the world when they witnessed June 30, 2019, President Donald Trump being courteously greeted by the Chairman of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Jong-Un at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)-almost taken as the border that divides the two Koreas after the War.
The fresh meet of the two, President Trump and Chairman Kim is perhaps the third face to face between the two leaders in just over a year or so.
The third Summit is expected soon.
And this unexpected meet has come immediately after the conclusion of the G20 conference held in Osaka, Japan.
President Trump crossed the border from the South to the North wherein he was greeted by Chairman Kim. Trump had left Osaka for Seoul after the conclusion of the G20 meet.
G20 comprises of 19 countries plus the European Union. The 19 countries included in this grouping are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States respectively.
This conglomerate is also talked as rich men’s club save the “faulty” inclusion of a few highly uncivilized countries located in South Asia.
The question is whether the meeting of such a scale and of global import was in essence, as is being given to understand, arranged in just twenty four hours or were the result of underneath hectic diplomatic activities from both the sides consuming several weeks is yet unknown but media sources close to the US claim that U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun held secret discussions at the DMZ to set up the meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean president Kim Jong un, reports the CNN.
This sounds logical.
To recall, the series of meets of the US President and Chairman Kim meet began when in April 2018, Kim met the South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the same DMZ village, also known as 38th parallel.
During the same encounter, Kim became the first North Korean leader to step into the South since the end of the war.
Cordiality between the two Kim and Moon increased thus.
In effect, it was this meet of President Moon Jae-in and Chairman Kim Jong UN at the DMZ which later facilitated the materialization of President Trump and Chairman Kim’s meet first in Singapore and then Vietnam, Hanoi and now in the DMZ itself.
This meet later did miracles. The world people have made positive comments and praise for the leaders concerned who have tentatively made a history.
President Moon Jae-in is a great sympathizer of Nepal as he prior to becoming the President of the ROK made a few trips to Nepal, it is talked. However, Nepal is yet to benefit from the South Korean experiences. A highly arrogant Prime Minister controls Nepal at present.
And most importantly, both the Presidents of the ROK and the USA were in Osaka, Japan together and apparently the former must have suggested the latter to utilize the moment for the benefit of the entire world and more so to the prevalence of a sort of permanent peace in the Korean peninsula.
The fresh meet of Chairman Kim and President Trump at the de militarized zone both the “leaders” have made sincere efforts in preparing grounds for yet another talks in between the two countries in order to bring in permanent peace in the peninsula.
The eagerness of Chairman Kim to meet President Trump at a short notice ( as claimed by President Trump) too in many more ways than one hints that he too preferred some sort of significant concessions from the USA and enjoy from the largesse of President Trump for the benefit of his country and its poverty stricken people.
And President Donald Trump is on record to have hinted after meeting Chairman Kim that DPRK has “tremendous potential” which implied that the USA would wish to invest in or provide some substantial help to Kim’s “monarchy” in a visible manner that satisfies the secluded country so far.
President Trump appreciated Chairman Kim and takes him as a “wonderful person”.
This concurrently means that the DPRK too should act in terms of the US demands for which President Trump appears so excited.
Though the DPRK may or may not fulfill the US preconditions at a single stretch as expected by Donald Trump but yet since the negotiation process has already begun and thus a time may come soon when the USA and the DPRK could inch closer. Chances remain fifty-fifty.
The next meet of the “Two New Friends” is expected either to be in Washington or in Pyongyang, if things go as per the desire of the two leaders who have their own political reasons and need to come closer and sort the core troubling issues so that it is in the good of the Korean peninsula and the world at large.
Trump has already invited Kim to USA. Chairman Kim is yet to reciprocate.
Take it for granted that this meet at the DMZ in between Kim and President Trump, June 30, must have had the undeclared facilitation of the South Korean President Moon Je-in who from the very beginning of his ROK Presidency has made several political overtures, seen and unseen both, that have finally brought the two estranged countries closer to a level that was a matter which could not even be thought of even some three years ago. Things are moving in a positive direction, needless to say.
So whatever positive developments have come to the notice of the world peace loving population more so to those who wish a peaceful settlement of the issues confronting the Korean peninsula (including the restoration of brotherly ties in between the two Koreas) are all due to the quiet diplomatic efforts made by President Moon Jae-in.
Chances remain that Nepal UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal may claim the credit for this Kim-Trump meet any time soon who may assert one fine morning that he “facilitated” the talks at the DMZ as per the appeal made by President Trump.
And President Moon has valid and logical reasons to bring North Korea to the negotiating table because the failure of the US-DPRK talks shall have a direct impact on the stability and the security of the Republic of Korea for understandable reasons. It is these compulsions which may have encouraged President Moon Jae-in to act fast in restoring peace in the trouble peninsula.
So President Moon Jae-in ventilated his inner feelings, let’s presume so, after the DMZ meet of the two estranged leaders, and said “Through today’s meeting, the peace process for complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishment of permanent peace has overcome a big hurdle “.
“It gave a big hope to the world and the 80 million people of South and North Korea, so had written Seung Min Kim and Simon Denyer for the Washington Post dated June 30, 2019.
President Moon’s expressions do hint what significance the Kim-Trump meet meant for the Koreans on both the sides and for the entire world, the Peninsula included.
It should be not out of place to recall that the US and South Korea (ROK) have been in a security alliance for several decades and a trip to the DMZ is something of a ritual for visiting US leaders.
No wonder that the then president George W. Bush too went to the DMZ in February 2002, a month after he named North Korea as part of his “axis of evil”.
The axis stands perhaps dismantled but US sanctions continue.
Interestingly, a very timely but convincing interpretation of this surprising meet of Kim and Trump has at best been put on record none less than by Andrei Lankov, a Professor at the Kookmin University in Seoul who says, to put in his own words, “it was inconceivable that the leaders (implied Kim and Trump) of two powerful nations had arranged a meeting at such a short notice. The Professor then says further that, “it (the meet) as a show
(was) designed to send a political message without raising (high) expectations about actual progress.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said this Monday that Japan supported the United States and North Korea’s “process” and wished for the latest talks between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un to result in positive developments, Japanese media agencies reported.
“I hope that this summit will lead to progress,” PM Abe noted.
Peace in Korean peninsula is equally important for neighboring Japan as much is for the two Koreas.
Abe was speaking after Kim and Trump agreed on Sunday to push forward dialogue for making a new breakthrough in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Meanwhile, Nepal’s former foreign secretary Mr. Madhu Raman Acharya in his twitter handle June 30, 2019, writes, “Considering that Chairman Kim and President Trump were threatening to nuke each other until a year ago, their ( regular) meetings and Trump’s visit to the demilitarized zone have reduced the chances of nuclear attack from either side though the challenges remains in negotiations.
The Nepali diplomat Mr. Acharya considers the event as “commendable” one.
High placed diplomatic sources in Nepal claim that the fresh meet in between Trump and Chairman Kim must have some links with China.
Similarly, the ailing Chairman of the Nepal China Study Center and an acclaimed political analyst, Mr. Madan Regmi says referring to this meet, “In yet another great event, the American President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met and (held) talks at the Inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom. Thus Trump became the first US President to step in the North Koran soil. (Twitter June 30, 2019).
Chinese President probably told Chairman Kim to narrow the political differences with the United States-sooner the better.
Prevalence of continued political tension in the Korean peninsula is not in the larger interest of China much the same way Japan has.
That China may have said so too has some logic in that China is not only a friend of the DPRK but is taken as the real “guardian” of Chairman Kim and the State he controls. The guardian thus may have impressed upon Kim during his fresh trip to Pyongyang.
The Chinese President Xi Jinping after attending the Shanghai Cooperation organization, June 12-14, 2019, held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan visited Pyongyang beginning June 20, 2019.
Pleased perhaps by the sudden event that took place in the Korean border, the Chinese President Xi Jinping has suggested the leaders of the United States and North Korea to pave the way for the third summit, and show the required flexibility in resolving the Korean peninsula nuclear issues.
With the use of the term flexibility, Xi expects flexibility from both the negotiating countries.
President Xi was in DPRK just the previous week.
According to media agencies, while meeting the ROK President Moon in Osaka, Japan, just ahead of the G20 meet Xi said that since the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s determination to denuclearize remained solid, and that Beijing was still committed to political engagement over the future of the peninsula and thus, President Xi perhaps hinted the ROK leader to encourage and help assist both the NK and the USA to come to the table for the third time.
The foreign ministers of the US and the DPRK have reportedly come into action to give a shape to the third Summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
In yet another great political development in our own region, South Asia, the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is all set to visit the United States of America at the formal invitation of President Donald Trump. PM Khan will be in the USA beginning third week of July this month.
This unexpected development may have caused discomfort to the Indian establishment more so to PM Modi and his advisors, however, observers in Nepal were confident that the US shall be compelled to honor Pakistan to what was long overdue.
The present gesture of President Donald Trump towards Pakistan also tells that the country no longer remains to what President Trump used to take Pakistan as a “liar and deceit” but instead it is an trusted ally of the good old Cold War days and that it was the country which provided shelter to millions of Afghan refugees when the then USSR entered into Afghanistan. It was the time of military ruler President Zia-ul Haq in Pakistan.
As an ally of the US, Pakistan took care of the driven refugees but in lieu enjoyed US largesse.
However, things deteriorated for Pakistan as India, the former ally of the USSR changed the camp and entered into the US campground.
It was this Indian inching closer to the US orbit which clearly distanced Pakistan with the US.
Unfortunately, the former US President(s) including Donald Trump listened to the Indian structured stories made against Pakistan and acted against this country as per the wayward suggestions made by the new found ally-which India was.
The US listened to Indian views also because India had to be made the “boss” of the US designed Indo-Pacific Strategy for this part of the world. Not a reliable partner for the US.
However, the US did not apprehend in advance that India is a country which ditched the real successor of the then USSR-the Russian Federation and thus the same India could leave the US in the deep blue ocean if such a political treachery benefitted the Indian nation.
However, better late than never the US has come to its senses observing the sincerity of the Pakistani people and that of the sitting Prime Minister Imran Khan as regards the settlement of the overly stretched Afghanistan conflict.
Over these weeks and months, Pakistan definitely has exhibited its sincerity in sorting out the Afghani problems by using several tracks of diplomatic efforts in sorting out or better say in easing the US forces withdrawal from Afghanistan which is what US desires now.
The US of late more so President Trump appears to have clearly understood and realized that India can never bring about a solution to the Afghani issue but instead could on the contrary escalate the conflict and dump it all on the head of Pakistan and in effect this is what India has been doing since long.
That the US has already developed a soft corner for Pakistan got reflected when Mike Pompeo during his fresh trip to India was grilled by a Modified TV anchor “purposely” who was expecting some bad words from the US Secretary against Pakistan. Mike Pompeo, however skipped the pointed question in a most diplomatic manner and then flew to Afghanistan to meet President Ghani.
While being in India, Pompeo was in full knowledge that Pakistan had hosted a seminar and initiated the “Lahore Process” for a viable solution to the Afghan problems.
Mind it that this Lahore process was well attended by prominent Afghanistan nationals which too added plus points to the honest credentials of Prime Minister I. Khan.
PM Khan is expected to be the US guest beginning July 20 and is expected to have extended one-on-one talks with the US President Donald Trump.
Strategists in Nepal hope that the US’s changed positive stance vis-à-vis Pakistan does hint that the US may restore its ties with Pakistan and elevate it to a level from where it had begun to take a slide for a fault that was not of Pakistan’s making.
If the US does so then the South Asian nations shall have reasons to celebrate in having a credible political deterrence in South Asia as against the regional Goliath-which India is. If any doubt then the US is advised to secretly ask as to what India means to the smaller nations that unfortunately border with declared destabilizer. Add to it the Kashmir atrocities perpetrated by the Indian security forces.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to travel to the United States in the third week of July on a maiden visit where he would have first face-to-face sitting with President Donald Trump, The Express Tribune confirm.
Official sources confirmed last Friday that the prime minister would begin his five-day trip from July 20.
The trip, originally planned in June, was postponed because of the PM’s prior domestic engagements, i.e. federal budget 2019.
This would be the first high-level engagement between the two countries under the Trump administration’s tenure, and comes at a time when talks between the US and Afghan Taliban are thought to have entered decisive phase, writes the The Express Tribune dated June 28, 2019.
The intimate US-Pak ties is very significant in that the US shall have a reliable partner who in effect unconditionally enjoys “cordial” ties with the neighboring countries ( excluding India) which has its expanded reach from South Asia to the Central Asia, the Gulf countries including Iran. Add to the long list the name of China-Pakistan’s iron brother.
Needless to say, the US’s close ties with Pakistan shall time permitting allow the US an opportunity for an honorable exist from Afghanistan and also provide the South Asian nations the much needed political deterrent to South Asian nations who have been until now forced to live with a regime that is not compatible with a nation that believed in coercive diplomacy and more often than not twists the arms of its smaller nations specially Nepal and Bhutan.
The US is thus advised not to leave the South Asian nations to the mercy of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) card holders like the Indian foreign minister S. Jay Shankar and Nationals security advisor Ajit Doval.
However, Prime Minister Imran Khan must not forget Vladimir Putin who had all the smiley face for all along the SCO meet held in Bishkek for Imran Khan and that was unmistakably for the Pakistani nation. A close proximity with the Russian Federation shall mean much for Pakistan. Compact and composite relations with Putin by all means will make Pakistan an important nation in the global community speaking in strategic terms.
It is time Imran Khan’s diplomatic acumen shall be tested this July. That’s all.