By Saveria Antonacci
The prospect of denuclearization in North Korea may soon be more than a figment of one’s imagination. According to ABC News, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un of North Korea met for their third set of peace talks this year, spanning from Tuesday through Thursday.
On Thursday, Mr. Moon announced that much diplomatic progress had been made. CNN reports that Mr. Kim “discussed specific steps” in order to begin destroying the North Korean Nuclear Arsenal that has paralyzed world leaders with fear and uncertainty since the 1990s. Additionally, it was hinted that the two leaders would like to officially end the armistice between their countries.
This move would allow North Korea to focus on its economic growth and partnership building with other Asian and European countries, instead of continuing its policy of fierce militarization. According to Reuters, this would include engaging in dialogue with countries such as France, for assistance in constructing a high-speed railway connecting North Korea with the rest of the peninsula and Asia beyond. Naturally, this economic growth would depend on North Korean leaders continuing peaceful and productive talks with both neighboring and rival states.
Action taken towards quelling tensions have occurred in places other than summits. As per USA Today, the first liaison office between North and South Korea opened earlier this month. It is a seemingly fervent push towards for peaceful relations between the two countries, considering this is the first official post for face-to-face dialogue.
In addition to South Korea, the United States will also have an important role in the progress of these peace talks. According to President Trump previously met with Kim Jong-un in June of this year. At this summit, it was confirmed with a signed document that a new relationship amongst the U.S. and North Korea would emerge. The denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula would also begin soon. Although there were no clear-cut timelines or details given pertaining to denuclearization, it was a step taken towards improved communication between the two countries. On top of this, North Korea approved of external inspectors entering the country to confirm that missile testing sites would be demolished, according to The Washington Post.
One issue that threatens the prospect of denuclearization is the presence of U.S. soldiers in South Korea. Prior to the most recent summit with North and South Korea, Mr. Kim expressed discomfort with U.S. troops being stationed just beyond his country’s border. Simon Denyer of the Washington Post states that “Members of Trump’s administration are concerned that such a declaration could be used to undermine the justification for the presence of U.S. forces in South Korea, politically if not legally.” It is possible that North Korea would agree to denuclearization in order to lessen the pressure that the U.S. places on them.
As per , North Korea and South Korea signed an armistice to halt the Korean War, which endured for three years. Despite being located halfway around the world, The U.S. has a long history of intervention on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump and his administration have the opportunity to change the hostile nature of relations amongst these countries. Each leader must consider the motivations for every political decision. Similarly, the U.S. must soon decide if President Trump will engage in further peace talks with Kim or refuse altogether to maintain a strong presence in Eastern Asia.
The past series of summits between these countries are undeniably historic. If the leaders involved uphold their promises of these talks, a new period in North Korean politics could emerge. At this point in time, the United States has the power to usher in an amicable era between itself and other notable countries in international affairs.