For weeks, the mainstream media in the West were decrying President Trump for his blatant provocations of Northean Korean President Kim Jung-un, which threatened to wipe out the Korean peninsula and much more in a thermonculear confrontation. But then, something quite unexpected by those pundits happened.
First, it was announced Jan. 4 that the United States and South Korea agreed to postpone their annual joint military exercises, which usually take place in the February-March time frame, until after the Winter Olympics and the Paralympics, which will be held in South Korea and conclude on March 18.
The announcement came after a telephone conversation between President Trump and South Korean President Moon. The two leaders, as reported by the South Korean side, agreed to collaborate in ensuring the success of the Olympic games, and to delay the planned drills to allow the military forces to focus on safeguarding security in the region.
One day before, Pyongyang had already reopened the communications line with Seoul, leading President Moon to offer to hold high level talks, which was later accepted. Shortly thereafter, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to hold their first high level talks in two years on Jan. 9, which were quite promising by all accounts. The two sides state in their joint statement that they “decided to resolve the issues in inter-Korean relations through dialogue and negotiations”.
And while the proponents of the unilateral, regime change faction in the west were still grasping at straws to find grounds to rail against Donald Trump, South Korean President Moon thanked him for helping to bring about the political conditions for the talks, through pressure and sanctions. “I think President Trump deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks and I want to show my gratitude”, he told reporters in Seoul on Jan. 10.
EIR’s Asia Desk Editor Michael Billington believes that progress can be made on solving the conflict, but it will depend very much on how international relations overall develop. The North Korean leaders, of course, have not forgotten what happened to Iraq and to Libya. Once those two countries gave up their nuclear weapons programs, they were promptly bombed back to the stone age, and their leaders were killed. Therefore, President Kim must be assured that the United States, in particular, is in fact committed to participate in the “new paradigm” of cooperation and win-win cooperation, before he agrees to renounce the nuclear deterrent. That will involve a long-term process.