Throughout the past several years, North Korea has made tremendous strides in their nuclear capacities. The testing of powerful weapons and missiles that could potentially reach the United States became a norm to see covered by the media. The relationship between the U.S. and North Korea has always been rocky—North Korea is a country plagued by violation of human rights and the argument about their nuclear testing sites dates back to the 1980’s. Although tensions never went away, they definitely increased once president Trump took office in 2017 and regularly referred to the North Korean leader as “rocket man”. However, it seems the days of name-calling are over and the situation has dramatically shifted. Or has it?
This morning, president Donald Trump became the first sitting president to meet a North Korean head of state in what is being declared as a “successful” summit by the Trump administration and various leaders around the world. The two met for five hours and although their meeting is being labeled as an achievement questions still remain. Being that the meeting was quite complex we’ve decided to break it down for you:
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE MEETING
The extended meeting resulted in the signing of a comprehensive document in which North Korea commits to working towards the denuclearization of the peninsula.
Translation: North Korea agreed to work towards getting rid of nuclear weapons (not including ICBM’s) and nuclear testing sites.
The document has a basic framework and four main components:
•The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity."
•"The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean peninsula."
•"Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."
•"The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.”
What does North Korea get in return?
Like any situation dealing with diplomacy, nothing gets done without a price. President Trump shocked journalists, the Pentagon, and audiences alike when he announced the cancellation of “the war games”. The United States currently has approximately 30,000 troops in South Korea and once a year they bring in others, usually from the pacific base in Guam, to join in large-scale drills. In essence, the “war games” are actually military exercises that are held in South Korea with local forces and U.S. soldiers stationed there.
WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? *There’s a few*
•Denuclearization isn’t exactly defined. The United States could define it as North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons. North Korea may define it as getting rid of their nuclear weapons if and when certain conditions are fulfilled( i.e. the cancellation of the war games). So, this is still all up in the air.
•It seems as if president Trump forgot to consult the pentagon before making this groundbreaking announcement on the South Korean troops. A day before the meeting was held in Singapore, U.S. Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters that he didn’t believe troop levels would be discussed during the meeting. Clearly, nobody let him know what was up.
•Although the document establishing denuclearization has been established, it lacks much needed substance—specifically, the North Koreans agreed to a verified process but how denuclearization will be achieved is still unknown. Earlier this year, the Trump administration placed heavy sanctions on North Korea due to their human right violations and it seems that the U.S. isn’t going to pull those sanctions until there is a physical way to verify that all nuclear weapons have been accounted for and destroyed.
•The timeline is far fetched. Right after the meeting concluded, president Trump held a press conference in which he was asked how long complete denuclearization would take. His answer? He’s unsure. Experts have weighed in and said that the process could take anywhere between three to 15 years. Will president Trump still be in office by the time this potentially happens? TBD.
•The biggest problem the Trump administration might face is their rush to trust. This is not the first time the North Koreans have promised to get rid of their nuclear weapons—in fact; they’ve done so three times in the past and have failed to follow through.
•President Trump announced that Kim Jong Un has accepted an invitation to the White House. This one is perhaps the most troubling and the headline that has made its rounds today.
SO WHAT IF HE GOT INVITED? He shouldn’t have....
While the meeting in Singapore has been praised by many, the idea of Kim Jong Un visiting the White House is quite troubling. The United States is upheld as a nation with one of the highest standards when it comes to upholding human rights and has long been a key player in the United Nations whose sole purpose is to maintain international order and addressing human rights violations. Kim Jong is a leader known for ruling with acute brutality. Among his repertoire is murder, enslavement, torture, forced abortions, imprisonment, persecution of political and religious beliefs, knowingly causing prolonged starvation, and is known to have enforced the disappearance of hundreds of people—just to name a few things.
The idea of a remorseless dictator traveling and visiting the White House is unheard of. Even more so after the Trump administration condemned Bashar Al-assad and took military action against the Syrian leader after he used chemical weapons to attack his own people. He wouldn’t invite Al-assad..or would he?
Another interesting thing to note here is that IF the North Korean leader were to actually travel to U.S. it would be the farthest a North Korean leader has ever traveled. Throughout history, North Korean leaders have rarely left their country with the exception of a handful of trips to South Korea and now Singapore.
LET'S BRING THIS TO A CLOSE
The future with North Korea and whether or not they’ll commit to this agreement remains unclear. However, the next couple of weeks are vital as U.S. diplomats’ travel to Singapore and North Korea to devise a plan to denuclearize the peninsula. Being that Mr. Trump and Kim Jong Un are both known as egomaniacs with hot tempers it will be interesting to see whether or not it’s a matter of time before the plan falls through. You have to keep in mind that this summit almost didn’t happen because of “open hostility” from the North Korean leader.
Although none the agreement established today is not set in stone; one thing is, this day will be written in history books to come.
If you’ve ever been to or read about North Korea then you know that propaganda videos are constantly shown. It’s a resource used throughout history by dictators to alter the mentality among the population. Prior to the schedule press conference President Trump showed a crowd of journalists a video the White House made for Kim Jong Un prior to their meeting. This video can only be described, as propaganda depicting what would happen if the summit was deemed successful—world peace—and what would happen if it went terribly—war.
It is one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen and very worrisome. Check it out for yourself: