July 2, 2019
Since the Korean Armistice signed on July 27, 1953, the Korean Peninsula remains a region of tensions between two parties with no trust in each other. North Korea on one side and South Korea backed by the United States on the other. The armistice was designed to ensure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea, but it led to an arms race, one that puts North Korea on the path of nuclear armament.
Though a permanent peace agreement has never been achieved, the armistice established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a de facto fortified border between the North and the South that put into force a cease-fire which, finalized repatriation of prisoners of war. Today the DMZ is about 250 kilometers (160 miles) long, with the border between the two nations one of the most militarized in the world since the armistice of 1953.
After the Korean War, the United States maintained a military presence in South Korea, extending to the DMZ where US and South Korea’ military guard the Southern part of the border, while the DPRK military visibly stand guard on the Northern side.
Since the beginning of its pursuit of nuclear weapons, the DPRK has stepped up military activities. Kim Jong Un tested more missiles than his father and grandfather combined and despite global pressure, the Korean leader did not budge. World powers in Europe and the United States answered with the most aggressive sanctions and maintained no relations with what the US called a “rogue state.”
In modern times, no American President has visited North Korea because of the regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. The nation is isolated from the rest of the world for violating nuclear treaties until recently when US President Donald Trump, decided to meet with Kim Jong Un.
Trump’s visit with Kim last week at the DMZ, marked the first time a sitting US President has set foot in North Korea, the meeting has produced nothing towards denuclearization but only an agreement between US and North Korea to restart talks on the nation’s nuclear ambition.
With three meetings so far that led to no serious agreement on the DPRK’ stockpile of nuclear weapons, many now wonder what Trump’s intentions are. Meanwhile, the President has shown no principles on US foreign policy. He has destroyed the Iranian deal, remains at loggerheads with China and has failed to protect US democracy when it comes to Russia’s meddling.
Trump’s meeting with Kim, makes European allies look stupid for supporting US decades old policies on North Korea. The US sudden about-turn under the leadership of Trump came as a shock to European leaders who for long believed the United States was in control of its global affairs. Trump’s reality show diplomacy at the DMZ, has led to mistrust and a possible change of policy in Europe on North Korea.
On arrival to US soil, Trump touted his meeting with Kim as a success but the New York Times reported Sunday that Trump’s officials were mulling a plan to accept North Korea as a nuclear power. So far, the White House has denied the leak but whether this is true or not, it is accurate to conclude at this stage that with three meetings and no serious agreement on denuclearization, The US under the leadership of Trump, has recognized North Korea as a nuclear state.
If anything Trump gets in return, he would be able to say he stopped North Korea from conducting nuclear tests, leaving unresolved the issue of denuclearization, a main goal of the United States and a campaign promise Trump has failed to fulfill.
On the other hand, North Korea walks away as a new member of the nuclear powers’ club, while Iran gets in line to pursue its nuclear aspiration. After-all, North Korea has emerged a winner, thanks to Trump’s abysmal foreign policy.
Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is an expert in general law, foreign relations and the United Nations. He is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment,’ ‘Criminal Law-Homicide’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available on Amazon. Follow on Twitter @san0670.
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