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Old Thursday, July 11, 2019
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Default North Korea and USA Relations (New developments)

The diplomatic relations between the United States and North Korea have remained at the edge of conflict for long. Washington and Pyongyang’s ties became combustible ever since Kim Jong-un took office as North Korea’s supreme leader. While North Korea was pursuing its nuclear ambitions and its oppression over South Korea during the regime of former US President, Barack Obama, the US-North Korea ties took a drastic turn when President Donald Trump arrived into the Oval Office in 2017. Trump went on to say during his speech at the UN in September 2017 that North Korea will be totally destroyed if America is forced to defend itself. The relations between North Korea and the US, however, and surprisingly, took another turn towards a better future for both in recent months.
Donald Trump met with Kim Jong-un during the DPRK-USA Singapore Summit in June 2018, where their meeting eased away much of their political tension but still it did not suffice their political plans. This year in June, however, at the sidelines of the 2019 North Korea-United States-South Korea DMZ Summit held on June 30, 2019, at the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Donald Trump did the unthinkable and something truly unprecedented. Following the meeting between Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump and the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, Trump Tweeted mentioning Kim Jong-un and the latter returned with a positive response. Donald Trump’s Tweet read, “After some very important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea (with President Moon). While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!” What was considered to be an impromptu Tweet, turned into a proper fifty-minute long meeting. Kim Jong-un welcomed Trump at the DMZ and Trump became the first sitting US President to enter North Korea.

This meeting ended with a positive note but not much information was released by the two sides. Following the meeting, Kim told Trump, “Good to see you again. I never expected to see you in this place.” A major breakthrough was for both leaders to agree on resuming staff-level talks between their governments. “They will meet over the next few weeks and they’re going to start a process and we’ll see what happens,” Trump commented and further added. “Speed is not the object … we want a really comprehensive, good deal.” What was the deal he was referring to is still yet to be seen.
Even though the meeting between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump began and ended on a vibrant note, both countries – as it is apparent – have not yet decided to back down from their respective point-of-views. Where the renewal of diplomatic talks was the underlining message of their meeting, North Korea is still gearing ahead with its nuclear ambitions. Kim Jong-un, perhaps, will not obey Washington’s rules any time soon and the US will keep insisting North Korea to do so.
While this meeting and the staff-level talks, whenever they will happen, will reduce the intensity of their enmity, the US and North Korea will certainly keep following their own missions and path but this time, as it seems, they will try to maintain their diplomatic relations and not put a break in them as observed in the past. Following the meeting, Kim Jong-un said, “I believe that meeting here, which is a symbol of division and a hostile past, I think meeting here, two countries that have a hostile past, we are showcasing to the world that we have a new present and we have a positive meeting going forward.”

Washington and Pyongyang, therefore, must maintain their diplomatic and political pursuits in the right direction. Washington, while being its ally – and at least not its enemy – for the time being, will keep monitoring and reacting to North Korea’s spontaneous and aggressive behaviour which it has shown against the US and in particular against South Korea. While the ice covering US-North Korea’s political relationship has begun to thaw, the two countries still have a long way to go before real agendas are met, promises are fulfilled and agreements are signed.
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