The second summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un is about to start. From the first one, the U.S. gained promises to talk about denuclearization and a continued cessation of missile tests which had recently completed. North Korea gained an end to joint US/South Korea military exercises, an end to its isolation on the world stage, an increase in prominence as a respectable world leader, increased division between allies Japan and South Korea which has since been turned into mild hostility and increased influence by the supporting Chinese government.
Because America gained promises about denuclearization but reports have trickled out of North Korea that they may still be constructing missile sites, the U.S. is hoping to get something more concrete than promises; they’re hoping to get a timeline.
What is North Korea looking for, this time around?
The U.S. hopes to offer them increased financial growth in the form of sanctions being eased. Trump has been talking about how North Korea is poised to become an economic powerhouse if sanctions are lifted.
This is not what North Korea wants from the summit. They’ll take it… and anything else Trump is willing to give them… but what they truly want is something that South Korea suggested this morning.
South Korea’s presidential office said on Monday the United States and North Korea could agree to declare the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War in a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the Yonhap news agency reported.Reuters
President Trump has recently pushed the South Korean government to pay a much larger percentage of the cost of maintaining U.S. bases in their country.
From Stars and Stripes, February 5:
The Trump administration has not publicly stated its new price tag, but officials from both countries have been quoted as saying that Washington wanted Seoul to more than double its annual payment of about $850 million per year.
The expected jump in payments by SK is an incentive to them to want the Americans gone. North Korea has been acting as if it wants reconciliation between itself and the South. President Trump has an isolationist foreign policy. This combination is perfect for the removal of American bases in South Korea, at the same time that the Japanese are campaigning against construction of a new US base in that country.
What restricts the bases from being removed is the current state of war between North and South Korea. If Trump agrees to end that, the next item on the bargaining block – not just with North Korea, but also with South Korea and China – will be the removal of American bases in the Asian region and the ceding of regional influence to China.
This, at a time when China has not succumbed on trade by Trump’s March 1st deadline. Trump and Chinese leader Xi both want that trade deal… Xi to aid the growth of his country, Trump because of the hit the market took in December and the two months of growth we’ve had since. Those two months have been spurred primarily by repeated suggestions that a trade deal with China has been close to completion. In this atmosphere, the possibility of force reduction as a bargaining chip becomes a concern.
And what is North Korea expected to give in order to achieve these results?
A timeline. Or, for the cynical, more promises.