President of The United States, Donald Trump, decided to cancel the meeting with Kim Jong-un that was scheduled for June 12th. The news was a disappointment to some of America’s allies in Asia, but one particular country will be pleased with this development – China.
This announcement will stop the planned denuclearization of North Korea, a goal on which the US, South Korea, and North were working in previous months. Trump was the one advocating for this summit, but he changed his opinion entirely yesterday by saying: “Our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest in history, and maximum pressure campaign will continue.”
It is expected that China will use the halt in the NK/USA negotiations to strengthen its position in the dialog with America about the new trading deal. These talks will also be influenced by the North Korean reaction to what POTUS did. In years and months prior to this meeting, North Korea was a hostile nation which frequently tested ballistic missiles and conducted nuclear tests. But in recent months they changed their policy and were heading to a peaceful future, even releasing US prisoners and destroying one of their nuclear test sites.
Now, that Trump withdraws himself from the summit it remains to be seen how will Kim Jong-un react. It is possible that if he gets offended with this move that nuclear and ballistic missiles tests will continue and the region will once again be on its feet. But, if he decides not to proceed with these actions, his position in the region will be strengthened especially from Chinese standpoint. At the moment China is the North Korea’s most significant trade partner, and this relationship could only improve with recent development.
Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, said about Trump’s withdrawal: “Trump walking away from the summit lets North Korea meet all its objectives: public recognition, lighter sanctions, damage to US alliances and continued nuclear advancement.”
The cancellation of the meeting affects South Korea and its president Moon Jae-in the most, and Lee Byong-chul, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Peace and Cooperation in Seoul, talked about this: “Moon Jae-in’s people must be panic-stricken by now because they have invested so much in the Trump-Kim summit. At home, they will face a gleeful political opposition who will ridicule them for being so naive.”
On the other hand, authorities in Japan are glad that summit is canceled, as they were of the opinion that the things were moving too quickly and without enough Japan involvement. Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe was afraid that NK and US would break a deal that suits their needs and which would be harmful to his country.
President Xi Jinping of China also thought that the conversation between Kim and Trump are going too fast and that it could do more harm than good for Beijing. But with the meeting being canceled, China now has space to broaden its influence on their neighbors. According to James Mann, it’s in China’s interest that summit gets delayed as long as possible: “It is in Xi’s interest not only to delay but to have the summit pending for as long as possible. The prospect of a deal without a deal itself gives China leverage over the US, especially on trade.”
Cheng Xiaohe, a North Korea expert at Renmin University in Beijing, said: “The cancellation may offer China an opportunity to do something to salvage the aborted meeting.”
President Trump believes that recent meeting between Xi and Kim was the reason that NK decided not to abandon its nuclear program as quickly as it seemed they would.
One of the reasons for why Trump canceled the meeting was the “tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in North Korea most recent statement.” On Thursday NK released official statement which was a warning to the US: “The United States must choose between encountering North Korea in a meeting room or a nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.”
On Tuesday Trump said: “There was a different attitude by the North Korean folks after that meeting. I can’t say that I’m happy about it.”
Political analysts disagree with Trump by believing that North Korea changed their stance without outside influence, from the fear for their survival. Most officials in the North think that deal of the denuclearization must allow them to retain some sort of nuclear arsenal for their safety.
But, a possibility remains that Xi had a word in it because, without a deal between NK and the US, they have leverage on both the situation in North Korea and their trade talks with the United States.