WASHINGTON – An enigmatic North Korean leader takes a mysterious train to travel to China to confirm the fraternal ties and declare a commitment to denuclearisation.
It sounds like Kim Jong-Un visit this week, but his father and predecessor of Kim Jong-Il similar statements on a trip to Beijing, months before he died in 2011. But North Korea’s nuclear weapons development only accelerated.
President Donald Trump expressed optimism Wednesday after the younger Kim’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying: there is a good chance that Kim will “do what is right for his people and for mankind.” But there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical that the U.S.-North Korean summit planned for May will produce the breakthrough that Washington wants.
After a year of escalating tensions, Trump agreed to talk after South Korean officials indicated that Kim is on ridding the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons, and was willing to stop nuclear and missile tests.
That has tamped down fears of war elevated as Trump and Kim traded threats and insults, and North Korea showed it was almost able to imagine the USA with a nuclear tipped missile.
Kim’s meeting with Xi offered some reassurance to Washington that denuclearization will be for negotiation once the first summit between the American and North Korean leaders in seven decades takes place.
But while Trump has raised expectations of what that sit-down would reach North Korea has yet to give what it wants, in exchange for the revocation of a weapons program that Kim probably views as a guarantee for the survival of his totalitarian regime.
The display of Kim’s remarks in Xi, as reported by the chinese state news agency Xinhua strongly indicates that Pyongyang is looking for major concessions.
“The problem of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved,” Kim was quoted as saying, “if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, creating an atmosphere of peace and stability during the taking of progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace.”
Many North Korea-watchers, that sounds like old wine in a new bottle.
In May 2011, the elder Kim, who was making what would be his last trip to China, told president Hu Jintao that the North was “holding on to the goal of the denuclearisation process.”
That came only months after North Korea revealed a uranium enrichment plant that was good for a second path to make fuel for atomic bombs.
Abraham Denmark, a former senior US defence official, said the North’s latest offer to “denuclearize” still appears dependent on the united states. the creation of the right conditions. In the past, Pyongyang demanded that the U.S. troops withdraw from the peninsula and the end of the security alliance with South Korea and the nuclear protection it offers his ally.
“It is possible that Kim Jong-Un has a different meaning in mind,” said Denmark, now director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center think tank. “So far it sounds like the old tune.”
End of six years of international isolation, Kim was spirited in Beijing by special train, under strict security measures, like his father before him. He spoke with Xi, looking to the restoration of the relations which have been frayed as China has backed tough U. N. sanctions and cut off trade with the quirky ally in frustration over its refusal to stop its provocative behavior.
The State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Kim’s first foreign trip was a “historic step in the right direction” and evidence that the U.S.-led campaign of the “maximum pressure” of the imposition of economic sanctions was at work. Trump said that the pressure would be maintained, but now offered an optimistic picture of how he would be able to achieve peace and denuclearization noticed that the past administrations.
“Now there is a good chance that Kim Jong-Un will do what is right for his people and for humanity. Look forward to our meeting!”
There is another way of looking at it.
It would be North Korea, not the US, that is calling the shots. When Kim offered an olive branch to South Korea in the new year, he also warned that the united states was within the range of the North-atomic weapons. With that possibility in hand, he may now be a diplomatic offensive, to use as leverage to win aid and security guarantees, rather than planning to give it up.
Trump’s pick for national security adviser, John Bolton, is even skeptical of diplomacy with North Korea. Just a month ago, he advocates for a preventive military attack on North. That raises questions about whether he could plead for the same should Trump ‘ s summit with Kim to fail.
Experts of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank said in an analysis provided by the meeting, Xi, Kim may be seeking an assurance that “even if summit talks fail with the USA. that North Korea would still be able to rely on the relationship with China.”
The japanese Prime minister shinzo Abe, a close ally of the president, is concerned about a less-than-ideal outcome.
He said Wednesday that he has that in his talks with Kim, the Trumpet will focus on the intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the AMERICAN mainland, and not the short-range missiles that threaten Japan and can ‘ accept North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons.”
Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report.