The United States President Donald Trump has threatened that he will walk out of the much anticipated Korean peace talks, if it falls short of his expectation. After months of preparation, the two Koreas, which have been technically at the state of war since the 1953 war, have agreed to organise peace talks – scheduled for next month. The talks could witness the leaders of the two Koreas ushering in a new era of peace and stability in the region – if Trump doesn’t turn into a spoilsport.
High on the April 14 US-led airstrike mission in Syria, Trump said “If we don’t think it’s going to be successful, we won’t have it.” The US President’s statement came amid reports of US Secretary of State nominee and CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s meet with the North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. Trump, in a surprise move last month, had agreed to be part of the high-level peace talks.
Political observers and analysts argue that Trump is attempting to manipulate the peace process, and put the onus of ‘failure of talks’ on North Korea. Observers also suggest that the ‘failure of talks’ will enable Trump to implement more hostile policies against North Korea. Currently, the US has 28,500 troops and US Army’s Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system deployed in South Korea.
“If the meeting when I’m there isn’t fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting,” said Trump standing alongside his Japanese counterpart at Trump’s oceanfront Mar-a-Lago estate here. Japan had been siding with the United States in the Korean conflict, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approaching South Korean President Moon Jae-in to restart the US-led joint military exercises in the Korean region. Moon has rejected Abe’s demand. The North considers these military maneuvers as provocation, and justification for Pyongyang’s ballistic missile program.
The peace engagement began in January this year with North Korean leader reaching out to South Korea to reduce the rising hostility in the region. The relationship between the two Koreas further eased during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February, where the North Korea had sent a delegation. Kim Yong-nam, the ceremonial head of state of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), led a 22-member delegation to the South. Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader also visited South Korea during the winter games.
Ending the State of War?
Meanwhile, according to reports, the two Korean nations are planning to formally end the state of war by signing a peace treaty. It is expected that the upcoming peace talks between the two countries may formally end the decades-old Korean War with a peace treaty.
South Korean cultural minister Do Jong-When told reporters: “A peace treaty should be signed in the inter-Korean summit so that we can build peace and ensure peaceful coexistence.”
North Korea had said earlier that it is willing to denuclearise if South Korea and United States can provide security guarantees.
In a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the North Korean leader Kim insisted that “the issue of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realisation of peace.”
Meanwhile, the North Korean state media reported that country will hold a plenary meeting of its ruling party’s central committee on Friday to discuss and decide “policy issues of a new stage” to meet the demands of the current “important historic period”.