North Korea - Page 5

How Long Will U.S. Soldiers Be Stuck in Korea?


According to an NBC News report, the US President Donald Trump tried pulling out all American troops from Korea, leaving the peninsula stripped of US military presence for the first time since the end of the World War 2. Only the heated opposition from his own chief of staff John Kelly stopped him.

Whether such a decision would have an impact or how deep that impact would have been remains debatable, but the current state of affairs between North Korea and the United States seems to be finally moving in the right direction, after months of exchanging accusations and insults in the midst of Pyongyang’s nuclear tests that invoke a new round of international sanctions against the country already deeply isolated from the rest of the world. Kim Jong Un seems to be far more open to negotiations with both Seoul and Washington, which he demonstrated last week when he became the first North Korean president to visit South Korea in the Demilitarized Zone, where he met his Southern counterpart Moon Jae-in. The meeting was conducted in a friendly atmosphere, with both leaders smiling and exchanging jokes and was ended with a joint Panmunjom Declaration.

One of the things most experts noted in this declaration was that for the first time the North didn’t insist on American troops leaving the peninsula as a condition for peace. Traditionally, this was the first thing Pyongyang mentioned in the past and to leave it out signifies a major political shift. Despite this, it would be hard to justify heavy American presence if two sides agree on a peace treaty which would replace the armistice which ended the Korean War in 1953.

“There would be voices raised with the question: why are the U.S. troops still here if we have a peace regime in North Korea?” said Christopher Green, a senior researcher at the International Crisis Group. The point becomes especially important considering President Trump has stated that South Korea shouldn’t get “a free ride” in the form of American troops defending its border.

If and when the troops withdraw stateside, it will create additional problems for Pentagon. First of all, how many of those returning from Korea will remain in active service. Secondly, the carrier group present near the peninsula will suddenly find itself without a mission. Finally, President Obama initiated a “Pivot to Asia” strategy, which Donald Trump changed into “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy, but the essence remains the same, creating an alliance in the region aimed at curtailing Chinese might and influence. US troops and bases in South Korea are to play a vital role in any such endeavor, and a significant reduction would throw a serious monkey wrench into both Pentagon and State Department’s plans for South Asia.

The last Us president who tried to bring back home troops from Korea was Jimmy Carter, who campaigned on a promise to return combat elements of the 2nd Infantry division back to the States. The entire proposition failed miserably, due to a staunch opposition of almost everybody involved, including the Pentagon, Congress, South Korea and even members of Karter’s own staff. Not only was such a reduction deemed dangerous, but Karter proposed doing it without even trying to secure any concessions from North Korea, China, or USSR. It also didn’t sit right with American allies in South Korea, who felt that such a major downsize for American fighting power would seriously reduce their ability to repulse a possible invasion from the North, not to mention it would embolden Pyongyang. But the final nail in President Carter’s plan was a discovery that North Korea has deployed far more troops and tanks to the border than previously thought.

President trump may find himself in a similar predicament. If a formal peace agreement is signed, the current United Nations command will be disbanded. Who will then command American troops in Korea? Will they be subordinated to the Korean High Command, meaning that a US four-star general would take orders from Koreans? Or would Koreans be under American command on their own soil?

There are many unanswered questions regarding the United States troops in Korea, but one thing is certain. Whether they stay or leave, the situation is bound to get far more complicated before it can resolve itself.


Where will Trump and Kim Meet?


We are getting closer to the meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, and US president has suggested that he would like to hold the meeting at the border between South and North Korea. Trump tweeted: “Numerous countries are being considered for the MEETING, but would Peace House/Freedom House, on the Border of North & South Korea, be a more Representative, Important and Lasting site than a third party country? Just asking!”

When he met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, at the joint news conference, Trump said that his proposal has had a mixed reception. He stated: “I think that some people maybe don’t like the look of that and some people like it very much. I threw it out today as an idea.”

The South Korean President Moon Jae-in has been informed that the potential meeting would take place in the demilitarized zone. Trump added: “There’s something I like about it because you’re there. You’re actually there. Where if things work out there’s a great celebration to be had on the site, not in a third party country.”

Last week, the potential meeting place was narrowed to two countries according to Trump, and the US officials prefer Singapore to the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas. The negotiations over the site have started since the two leaders agreed to meet and some other locations, which have been disregarded in the meantime, included cities in Europe, Mongolia and Southeast Asia.

For the US officials, meeting at the Peace House was not an option because Trump would have to travel around the world whereas Kim would be there instantly. However, after Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-Un met here, Trump considered it to be a great place to hold the talks, White House officials report. During the meeting between the Korean leaders, Kim became the first North Korean who crossed into the South Korean territory since 1953, but Moon also stepped into the North for a moment.


The Meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un Will Take Place in ‘in three or four weeks’


The US president, Donald Trump, said a meeting with Kim Jong Un could happen over the next three to four weeks, speaking at a rally in Michigan.

“I think we will have a meeting over the next three or four weeks,” he stated “It’s going be a very important meeting, the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. But we’ll see how it goes. I may go in, it may not work out, I leave.”

The exact date hasn’t been set yet, and the location of the summit has been a subject of many rumors, including Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, and even Mongolia.

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, met with Kim Jong Un recently and said that they had a good conversation, praising Kim’s willingness to negotiate and his preparedness for the meeting.

“We had an extensive conversation on the hardest issues that face our two countries,” Pompeo said. “I had a clear mission statement from President Trump. When I left Kim Jong-un understood the mission exactly as I described it today.”

The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula has been promoted as a goal on Friday’s meeting between Kim and his southern counterpart Moon Jae-in in the Demilitarized Zone. Kim became the first North Korean leader to visit South Korea since the end of the war in 1953. The meeting went in a cordial atmosphere, with both presidents joking and laughing. One of the promises made was that a formal peace treaty would soon replace a truce that has ended the Korean War. It was even reported widely in the North Korea’s press, which is usually very tight-lipped when informing its citizens of any international development that doesn’t represent their country in the best light. Some experts interpret this in a way that Pyongyang is open to the idea of getting rid of its nuclear arsenal.

Trump has spoken with Moon Jae-in on the subjects and both presidents agreed that “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” is vital for the future of North Korea. Trump also claimed credit for the meeting, saying that “I had one of the fake news groups this morning. They were saying, ‘what do you think President Trump had to do with it? I’ll tell you what. Like, how about everything?”

The US defense secretary, James Mattis also talked to his colleague from South Korea and assured him that America would defend its ally “using the full spectrum of US capabilities.”

President Trump also had a phone call with the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, and appraised him of the situation.


Donald Trump Should Win Nobel Prize According To Moon


Donald Trump’s effort to end hostilities between two Korea’s should be rewarded with a Nobel Prize according to South Korean president Moon Jae-In. Trump has been instrumental in trying to persuade North Korea to denuclearize.

His efforts to end NK nuclear program didn’t go unnoticed in the south part of the peninsula. The Chief of State in South Korea said: “President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. What we need is only peace.”

Moon made these statements during the meetings with senior secretaries. The media was briefed by Blue House officials.

The first inter-Korean summit in more than ten years was held on Friday. The SK president met with his NK counterpart Kim Jong Un, and both men have pledged to make “complete denuclearization” a Korea’s a reality. The President of The United States is currently gearing up for his summit with Kim Jong Un. This meeting should occur in next two or three weeks.

According to reports coming from South Korea, the meeting between Trump and Kim was the main subject of the private conversation Moon had with Jong Un during their private walk on the border.

A few months ago while talking about the US president, Moon said: “Donald Trump deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks. It could be a resulting work of the U.S.-led sanctions and pressure.”


Moon Jae-In received a message of congratulations from Lee Hee-ho, who is a widow of former chief of state Kim Dae-Jung, in which she stated that Moon is deserving of a Nobel Prize. The current South Korea president responded that Trump is the one who deserves it.

Dae-Jung is remembered as the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize winner for his efforts in starting peace talks between the two Korea’s. His meeting with NK president at the time Kim Jong II was the first of its kind prior to the one which happened on Friday.

The goal of a dialog between two Korea’s is to start making plans for economic cooperation which could begin after the sanctions to North Korea are lifted. The sanctions on NK were imposed after they refused to end their nuclear program and continued with testing of ballistic missiles.

Kim Jong Un Makes History as the First North Korean Leader to Visit the South


In a cheerful atmosphere resembling a family reunion, Kim Jong Un crossed the line in the Demilitarized Zone to become the first North Korean leader to visit South Korea. After 68 years, the Korean War will finally end.

The raised concrete slab over which Kim stepped over to enter South Korea has long been a symbol of the divide between the two countries. Dressed in his traditional black suit, North leader seemed relaxed as he shook hands with his counterpart from Seoul Moon Jae-in and invited him to jump over for a visit to the North. Moon Jae-in’s parents were refugees from North Korea, who fled the communists during the war on board of an American supply ship. Both of them returned to the Southern side and sat down for the negotiations, declaring the end of the war and announcing joint work towards “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

Moon Jae-in has made no secret during his political career that unification of two Koreas has been his life-long dream and ambition. In the past, he brokered several deals between Pyongyang and Seoul, but this today is his highest achievement yet. He still has a lot of work ahead, as he prepares to mediate between Un and American President Trump in order to achieve a deal everyone will be satisfied with. The White House has issued a statement saying “that talks will achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula.” President Trump said that he is looking forward to meeting Kim Jong Um in the near future, a sharp detour from just a few months ago when he was calling him a Rocket Man and threaten to annihilate his country.

As is customary with Korean meetings, the summit was orchestrated to the last detail and choke full of symbolic. Although not much in essence was agreed – Moon Jae-in will visit Pyongyang in fall, high-level military delegations will meet as soon as possible to discuss further de-escalation, and family reunions will resume – the atmosphere during the negotiations was very relaxed. Un joked about the North Korean type of noodles, which are very popular in the South and that he will stop waking up Moon Jae-in with missile alerts. The delegation from Pyongyang consisted of 9 members, one of which was Un’s sister.

Despite his wishes, Moon Jae-in isn’t in a position to offer much to his Northern counterpart. The talks of denuclearization of the peninsula are a matter that will be handled by the direct negotiations between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, while any significant economic relief South may offer is blocked by the latest round of the UN sanctions, placed in response to the nuclear test North Korea performed last year.

Andrei Lankov, professor of Korean studies at Seoul’s Kookmin University, said that “Serious discussion about denuclearization is simply impossible because this is not so much an issue of South Korea, but rather an issue of the United States.” He also remarked that “South Korea should push the United States towards accepting a compromise,” something Moon Jae-in is probably eager to do.

Although North Korea agreed to stop further tests and even dismantle its testing facility, which reportedly collapsed, causing huge damage and unconfirmed deaths of several of the country’s leading nuclear scientists, denuclearization may be a tall order for America to achieve. Pyongyang has sacrificed too much in order to obtain nuclear weapons and, with its largely obsolete military, it is the only real deterrent they have in the face of a possible invasion. While ordinary people may welcome the unification, North Korea’s elites, which are the regime’s backbone, aren’t thrilled with the prospect of their children losing all of their privileges.

This puts South Korea’s leadership in a tough position, making it increasingly hard for them to persuade Trump and his hawkish advisors, namely Secretary of state Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, to agree to the deal that doesn’t feature full disarmament. Both Pompeo and Bolton have insisted that the military option is still on the table, regardless of the possible casualties that North Korea can inflict to South Korea and Japan’s civilian population. This will be the hardest part of the deal for Moon Jae-in since Trump is becoming increasingly unpredictable and keeping him at the table and willing to negotiate may prove quite impossible.


How the Swedes Can Help Trump with North Korean Negotiations


Sweden is in a unique position among Western countries when it comes to North Korea. The Scandinavian country has a long history of being the middleman between the West and its adversaries, a role it played successfully during both World War 2 and the Cold War. In fact, it was Sweden’s intermediary position during the Cold War and its membership in Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission established to oversee the Korean Armistice, that laid the foundations for the country’s role in North Korea today, as it was one of the first to open an embassy in Pyongyang in 1973. Later on, in 1996, it became a protecting power for the United States, protecting Washington’s interests in North Korea. Two countries regularly exchange state visits and Swedish prime minister was the first Western leader to visit Pyongyang in 2001, while North Korea’s foreign minister visited Stockholm in March.

In practice, that means that all official negotiations between Trump and Kim Jong Un, including the ones discussing the release of the US citizens from North Korea’s prison, are going through Swedish diplomats. Swedish ambassador wanted to visit Otto Warmbier, who was arrested in North Korea for trying to steal a propaganda poster in 2016. The ambassador was denied access with various excuses, which were later revealed as a ploy to keep the fact that Warmbier was in a coma. He was released eventually but died shortly after returning home.

Hopefully, the fate of the current captives won’t be so grim. North Korea currently imprisons three American citizens, Tony Kim, an accounting professor at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, Kim Hak-song, an agricultural expert working at the same university, and Kim Dong-chul, a businessman. Releasing these three men may signal goodwill on the part of the Pyongyang and the willingness of the county’s leadership to enter negotiations.

Mickey Bergman, who manages private diplomacy efforts in North Korea says that his sources confirm that initial contacts between Swedish embassy and Pyongyang officials have been made. “What I’m hearing: There is an effort by the Swedes to try to broker the return of the three American detainees who are in North Korea now,” he said.

Such requests would be a prevue of the US embassy, but in North Korea, it has fallen to Sweden to look after the prisoners’ well-being and protect their interests. Many experts agree that releasing the three Americans would be an excellent way for Pyongyang to gain some international confidence in the upcoming summit.


Trump and Kim’s Deal Can be Good for the World


US President Donald Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, and we are not certain why this meeting is happening now. Yes, they will talk about denuclearization, but this could have happened a decade ago as well. Either way, as we are closing to what is going to be the historic summit, the political analysts are skeptic about the talks. Usually, two countries discuss the matters before the agreement is signed, but this time the future of North Korea and the United States lies in the hands of two men, both of which have questionable nature. In other words, anything can happen.

The two leaders cannot be trusted at all. Kim Jong-Un has a long history of lies and broken promises, and the same goes for Trump as he often tends to change his mind. And now, these two personas should meet and talk truthfully about the things that are of paramount importance. Neither has any reason to believe a word that rolls off the tongue of the other leader, so these talks are going to be interesting.

We have to pay respects to the young leader of North Korea. He is going to meet face-to-face with the American President, which is something neither his father Kim Jong II nor his grandfather Kim II Sung managed to do. Kim Jong-Un will finally be perceived as an equal member of the world stage, and he should be treated as such. With this in mind, Kim is entering the talks with a slight edge.

Since Trump has agreed to meet with Kim, he is expected to do something significant. He keeps complaining about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed with Teheran, and now he has a chance to create and shape the deal which will be more successful than that one. Bear in mind that North Korea already has nukes, which means that arranging an agreement which is beneficial to the United States will be a lot harder than it seems. Whatever happens, it is always good to see the two sides talking, and this is an improvement on the status quo. We are not expecting much from the first summit, but opening such talks is important not only for the sides involved in the meeting but for everyone in the world.

Will the agreement reduce the danger of nuclear war?

Two indirect participants of the meeting will be China and South Korea. The goal is to prevent a new war on the Korean Peninsula and to see two sides striving to achieve that is much better than name calling. However, we need to acknowledge the fact that instead of reaching the deal, the talks can go the other way around and the tensions might increase. If Trump asks too much, the North Korean leader might refuse and offer fewer than he intended at first, which could force the US president to revisit the military option. We hope that this will not happen.

Will the agreement last?

For this deal to last, the two sides need to be satisfied. Otherwise, if the agreement favors one signatory, the other one will search for opportunities to either renegotiate the terms or evade the ones that are reached. Trump needs to be aware that Kim Jong-Un is not going to give up on the nuclear program and the already existent nuclear missiles lightly. They will probably ask for diplomatic recognition, the lifting of economic sanctions and for the US to withdraw its forces from South Korea. Perhaps Kim demands all three.

Both US and North Korea need to respect the terms, but to do so, America needs a formal treaty, duly ratified by the US Senate. North Korea will be sure that the US will do their part, but the same goes the other way around. The US needs confirmation that Kim will disband the nuclear weaponry and someone would have to oversee the process. If the deal is equal and not favoring any party, be sure that hawks in the US will call Trump a sellout.

The US in Asia

In a long-term, Trump needs to think more about his relationship with China and the position of the United States in these parts of Asia. Signing a deal at all costs is not an option, and the US needs to prevent China from becoming a dominant power. That would be a major blow for the US and its allies in the Pacific region. America has already left the Trans-Pacific Partnership which harmed them more than Trump thought it would, strengthening China’s position in the region. One more mistake and US would weaken significantly allowing China to grow.


Trump and Kim Meeting Marks Tipping Point


North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un announced that he is putting the nuclear tests to halt ahead of the meeting with US President Donald Trump, thus shocking the entire world. Even Trump’s biggest critics might have to acknowledge that its tactics work. His “speak loudly and wave a big stick” foreign policy is definitely something to be feared off because it is backed by the US military as the Syrian airstrikes confirm.

Can Kim Jong-Un be trusted? He announced the suspension of the nuclear program before, however, he did something which has given us the reason to hope for an agreement. Even though it went largely unnoticed in the media, he withdrew one of his requests, which is to remove the US troops from the Korean peninsula before the discussion takes place. In other words, the US military presence in South Korean may be separated from the denuclearization talks, which is a good thing. This is important for several reasons and the best possible outcome for America is too keep the troops in South Korea and maintain its strategic role in the region while they persuade North Koreans to give up on their nuclear program. But this is easier said than done.

The way Trump approaches foreign policy and the way America treats other countries differs widely from his two predecessors – George W. Bush and Barack Obama. These talks could represent a revolution in America’s relations towards the rest of the world. Both Bush and Obama had similar ideas of what the US should do on the world stage. They agreed that America’s role is to lead the world to peace and prosperity through the process of building a coalition in Bush’s case, or via “strategic patience” and “leading from behind” in Obama’s case.

Woodrow Wilson had the idea that America should be the one that will make the world a safer place and introduce the democracy and freedom. Back then, America was combating communism, but after the 9/11 attacks, they have been in constant state of war against terror. Bush and Obama appeared to be the last two presidents who represented such ideas, but everything changes with Trump.

Instead of focusing on the entire world, Trump asked himself “How do I make America strong and influential again?” And this clarified the goal this country has in front of it. Trump is sharp towards its opponents and keeps threatening with military power as we have seen in Syria, which is a revolution itself. Such threats have brought the situation in North Korea to a tipping point, and everything can change at the summit.

America needs to be careful in the talks with North Korea because they have to watch China’s every move as well. China would be delighted if the US troops were to leave the Peninsula because that would give them access to control two Koreas. The US troops have guarded this perimeter since 1950, and it would be unthinkable for them to leave the area. No matter what happens with the deal between the United States and North Korea, the US troops need to remain on the peninsula at all costs. That way, America would be able to control Pyongyang and limit Beijing’s influence in the region.

America also needs to install a ballistic-missile-defense shield which includes a system for using drones armed with hyperkinetic interceptor missiles which would facilitate the defense against Korea’s missile launches. Should the negotiations fail, this will be an important measure, and such system is having an increased number of supporters in Capitol Hill and Pentagon. Either way, Trump’s foreign policy revolution is happening. It may not be visible just yet, but the things are changing!


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