Trump Gives Thumbs-Up to Korea Peace Moves… So Far

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Trump Gives Thumbs-Up to Korea Peace Moves… So Far

Written by Finian Cunningham; Originally appeared at strategic-culture.org

Reading first reports that American CIA chief Mike Pompeo held secret talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on April 1, one might be forgiven for thinking it an April Fool prank.

But no, the meeting did take, confirmed by none other than US President Donald Trump. In a tweet this week, Trump wrote:

“Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!”

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2018

Pompeo, who is awaiting confirmation of his new post as Secretary of State before the Senate later this month, is known for his hawkish foreign policy views. As CIA chief, he notoriously said that he wanted to make the feared quasi-paramilitary organization even more “vicious”.

Now Pompeo is serving as a peace tribune to North Korea, which until recently he has taken a confrontational stance towards.

When he was nominated last month to take over from outgoing Rex Tillerson at the State Department, some observers expected the surprise rapprochement between the Trump White House and the North Korean leader would be subsequently nixed. Pompeo, and the advent of John Bolton as Trump’s National Security Advisor, personify the neocon faction in Washington.

The emerging fact that Pompeo met in person with Kim Jong-Un in Pyongyang and that the pair apparently formed a “good relationship” seems a rather dizzying revelation.

It was the highest level meeting between a senior American official and a North Korean leader since 2000 when then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, from the Bill Clinton administration, met with Kim Jong-Il – the father of the state’s current leader.

Not only that, but Pompeo and Kim Jong-Un reportedly discussed making preparations for a forthcoming face-to-face summit between Kim and Trump. That encounter could take place in June, although a venue has not yet been finalized. It would be an unprecedented breakthrough and the first time a sitting American president has ever met a North Korean leader.

Trump took his inner circle aback last month when he impulsively accepted an invitation from North Korea’s Kim to hold a one-on-one summit. Trump jumped at the chance even before his national security team had been consulted. It appears that the president is very much still on board for the tête-à-tête.

This is a startling turnaround in bilateral communications. During Trump’s first year in office, he frequently used incendiary rhetoric towards North Korea, disparaging Kim as “little rocket man”, and threatening to use overwhelming military force against the northeast Asian nation over its clandestine nuclear-weapons program.

For his part, Kim was none too shy about firing back the rhetoric at Trump, mocking the American leader as “an old dotard” and threatening to strike the US mainland with nuclear ballistic missiles. It is not confirmed if North Korea has reached the capability to hit North America with nuclear warheads. But it seems that Kim’s newfound willingness to engage in diplomacy with the US may be prompted by a sense of strength from having achieved that nuclear threshold.

Others would say that the ratcheting of US-led economic sanctions under Trump has forced Pyongyang to the negotiating table.

Whatever the exact motive force, the upshot is that the American and North Korean leaders are willing to talk. That outcome of jaw-jaw is better than war-war, as Winston Churchill once said.

The diplomatic path of dialogue has also been consistently urged by Russia and China.

If one hasn’t already been overwhelmed with positive development, then here’s one more thing.

Next week, the South Korean President Moon Jae-In is due to hold a summit with Kim in which the two leaders are prepared to explore the signing of a full peace treaty to mark the end of the Korean War (1950-53). That meeting will the first of its kind between two Korean leaders in more than a decade.

Never before has a full peace treaty been broached at such a senior Korean government level. For the past 65 years since the end of the war, the two Koreas have coexisted in a technical state of war, restrained only by an armistice or truce. That situation has been historically fraught with concerns of a return to full-blown war.

Furthermore, President Trump has said he gives “my blessing” to the inter-Korean talks next week aimed at negotiating a definitive peace treaty. No sitting American president over the past six decades has acknowledged the issue of signing a peace treaty, let alone endorsing it.

The US was a main belligerent in that war, siding with its ally South Korea against the Communist North. Any peace treaty would involve the US signing up to it, along with South and North Korea, as well as China which backed the latter in the war.

Unfortunately, this is where the goodwill on display so far may become unstuck.

Trump says he welcomes North Korea’s offer of engaging in talks for “denuclearization” – that is, to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. But North Korea will want proper exchange for such a momentous move.

A full peace treaty over the Korean War is one such reasonable demand. That could then pave the way for the eventual unification of the two Koreas, which many people on the Peninsula have long desired, including the present leaders on both sides of the Demilitarized Zone.

But a peace treaty also implies that the US withdraws all its forces from the Korean Peninsula. Currently, there are some 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea. There has been an American military presence on the peninsula since the end of the Second World War.

Every year, the US conducts large-scale military maneuvers with South Korean forces in the air and waters around the peninsula. This has long been a cause of animus in North Korea which views the “war games” as rehearsals for the resumption of war.

The fundamental issue is that American strategy for power and influence in Asia-Pacific towards perceived chief rivals Russia and China depends on the US military having a foothold on the Korean Peninsula. It therefore seems deeply counter-intuitive that US geopolitical planners would be prepared to surrender their Korean power-projection point.

President Trump has so far, surprisingly, shown goodwill to talks with North Korea and the search for peace.

But when Washington realizes that a genuine peace settlement involves the complete withdrawal of American military forces from Korea, Trump’s thumbs-up is likely to become inverted.

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  • RichardD

    Great, I hope that a peace treaty is signed and that relations are normalized. And that the US gets out of S. Korea, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere where it is a perpetual source of war and destabilization. Which Trump won the election on and then caved in to the neocon Jews and their collaborators.

  • velociraptor

    So haters, what now? :DDDDDDDDDDDD

  • paul ( original )

    I don’t think agreements and treaties with the usa are worth anything.
    There is nobody to enforce these things. They are just devices which
    the usa uses as a stepping stone towards their next set of demands.
    If N Korea goes down this route then within ten years they will be
    destroyed.

    • this name is better

      If the united states is smart its in their best interests to help north korea right now there’s tension building up with usa and china and it would strongly annoy china for north korea to re align itself with the west especially being right at the door step of china it would also make china start putting more attention and resources onto that front instead of moving farther south in the south china sea … if trump makes amends with north korea this will go down in history regardless of how much of a failure his party has been i’m really interested on how things will develop in the next few months

    • IOLANTOH

      Exactly aim is weaken yourself and we will easily destroy you.

  • Ricky Miller

    So, Russia and China allowed harsh sanctions on North Korea to be passed at the United Nations Security Council. Even though the USA is economically and militarily pressuring both Russia and China they both went along with the maximum pressure campaign. Didn’t understand that. Helping a bullying power who’s trying to bully you. What if North Korea turns the tables now? With the right deal could we see U.S. companies and military bases in North Korea in the coming years? Abandon a friend, maybe lose a friend to your Western “partners.” Another geopolitical setback right on the border of Russia and China. Who’s next? Mongolia? Belarus? Kazakhstan? Armenia? Maybe even big powers like Russia and China should stand with those who stand with you.

    • velociraptor

      Didn’t understand that.

      NK is unimportant. Both, R and CH does not want american Thaad systems in Japan and South Korea. Kim was informed, either shut up and follows the orders, or will be gringed in kimchi.

      • this name is better

        i disagree bro north korea could play a strong leverage against china right now geographically north korea is in an important spot

        • velociraptor

          first, i meant the goals of NK are not important.

          second. NK is militrily, economically minus, it has no chance to affect anything. be sure, in the army there are russophil and even more chinophil officers. simply shot kim and some of his family and the ragime has chnged. they will not allow for this fatty shemale dog to lead NK in self-killing war.

          • this name is better

            i apologise i misunderstood and i agree militarily they are poor and serve no good use but who’s not to say the usa wont nurture north korea with food and money its more about the relationship they can build with the west so to say if usa and china have a military stand off its possible that usa could establish defence systems and military equipment near the border with china which would strongly bother china and give usa some leverage but for this to happen were still a long ways … nice description of kim i found it funny lol … its possible usa wouldn’t touch kim part of the negotiations with north korea will involve the security of the regime no deal will be made unless usa can commit to the stay of the kim regime

          • The Latin Mass

            this name is better, “the ADL and SLPC are really on the side of the dailystormer neo-nazis website. The ADL and SPLC are simply “playing chess”. When ADL and SPLC call for dailystormer to be shut down, it is code speak and strategic maneuvering.” If anyone believes this about the ADL, they are on drugs.

            Well when Russia sanctions Iran to be defenseless against jewamerica…. Russia is not at all playing chess, just like the ADL vs dailystormer. Then really why is Russia sanctioning Iran in the UN in getting arms to defend against jewamerica and Israhell.

          • this name is better

            ha i was completely unaware that russia sanctioned iran … so their relationship seems like a bitter one right ? or at least a relationship that’s thin on ice makes me wonder how the cooperation between the two is in syria .. i’ve read here and there reports about how there’s disagreements between the two on how syria should be handled but i also don’t know how accurate those reports can be … latin mass thanks for your explanation very well said

    • The Latin Mass

      Russia is zionist… China is slipping as we speak. That is what you forgot to mention. The key is to have Russia and eventually China lull any “allies” of Russia and China while jewamerica attacks them when all is ready. Without Russia promising false security, these countries would be more active to look to themselves for defense. And they can stare at a map of Russia and think, “Russia would sell me S-400s if Russia did not sanction me in the UN, isn’t Russia the knight in shining armor, Russia will save me in the end, just like Russia fought back with their S-400s in Russian bases to defend Assad. Russia is my hero.” … As Russia betray them.

    • IOLANTOH

      Russia and China Chase all their allies in the hands of bullies.If Kim allows bullies to build bases in North Korea then it’s game over for China and Russia.All Russian objection will be reject by their favourite U.N. Security Council as it happen most recently.China will as always abstain.India and USA will but severe pressure on China to abandone South China Sea bases.Russian nuclear Defence system action time will be nutralise.Economic setbacks will force Russia to sell it land portion to India and USA.