” South Korea – Kim Jong Un expressed eagerness to meet Trump. President Trump says yes; will do so by May. ” Thursday, March 8, 2018.
This in effect means that President Trump is accepting the offer of Kim Jong Un to meet as at present. Place and time of meet to be determined yet.
President Trump also tweeted, “Great progress being made, but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned.”
This will be ‘Diplomacy 2.0’ as and when it fructifies. Two leaders with similar temperament and nationalistic ideals trying to engage in a peace initiative of supreme order. This is where the conventional characteristic(s) of Diplomacy differs.
What is the essence and content of this ‘Diplomacy 2.0’ ?
There are three characteristics to this. (a) Point of no Return, (b) Peace Initiative Signals, and (c) Expectation(s) of Trump.
(a) Point of no return : While Kin Jong Un’s obstinate stand on possession of nuclear deterrence, his continued testing of Ballistic missiles despite condemnation by many countries since July 2017, and his extreme rhetoric (witnessing a Roland for Oliver return from Trump each time) coupled with verbal threats of destruction – have besides escalating the tensions between the two nations, hardened the diplomatic manouevres about which the US Secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has often advocated. It appeared that DPRK has reached a point of no return with an imminent War a certainty.
(b) Peace Initiative Signals : Change became apparent after the Pyeongchang county winter Olympics (February 2018) when the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in’s penchant for diplomatic and engagement strategies as opposed to his predecessors began taking shape. Coupled with the continued UN economic sanctions to starve and dismember the DPRK economy, and the continuing Joint military exercises by South Korea and the US, Kim Jong Un felt compelled to mellow down restraining his aggression and the Peace Initiative afforded a face saving grace.
(c) Expectations of President Trump : Despite his rhetoric President Trump has often said that, “all options are on the table”, never ruling out Diplomacy. It will then be natural if he expects ‘a clear and complete denuclearisation and not any cosmetic adjustments from Kim Jong Un.
To have come around to Diplomacy now when as recently as November 2017, the North Korean leader seemed unfavourable to any peace strategy through mind is more than just surprising. Kim Jong Un’s emotional declamations combined with his unstoppable testing of missiles and undiminishing extreme rhetoric then signalled a high probability of a War breaking out. The threat that was real then has eased now.
The figure above indicates that the chance of a War between USA and DPRK is now at 0.05 ( 1.0 is the maximum). According to an earlier analysis it was 0.145 in September 2017, and 0.475 in November 2017. Whether this peace attempt is for real or is just a move to buy more time for consolidation by North Korea is the 64 thousand dollar question.
Just as his presidency is a new experience, for Donald Trump this deal (if and when it begins) will be a new experience in foreign relations requiring help from supporters in his administration and the nation. His acceptance of the offer to meet Kim Jong Un will nevertheless signal his action oriented mindset trying to change the course of relationships with nations, and the life of American Citizens yearning for a non-confrontational and peaceful way of living. This is the management takeaway at this nascent juncture of the still to be decided ‘meet’.
Trump – Kim Jong Un meet may not be music to the ears of every American citizen, but for those sitting on edge with anxiety, apprehension, tension, and fear it sure will be some good news dispelling their safety and security concerns that peaked during mid 2017.
Whether a resolution to the puzzle can emerge raising the hopes of peace oriented people and leaders/administrators is uncertain, however. This will be the first meeting if and when it materialises, and ‘diplomacy’ is a very long process consuming years if not decades.
“Dieu avec nous”
Saturday, March 10, 2018 – 5.59 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” We must dare to be great and we must realise that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage ” – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President.
( Other related pieces : 1. “Making Kim Jong Un a Nobody to Everybody” – September 19, 2017. 2. “Destroy the Country (and/or) Restore the Country” – September 22, 2017. 3. “North Korea Threat is Real” – November 30, 2017.)