US President Donald Trump may be, like Nixon in China before him, the instrument for resolving the decades-long conflict with North Korea but there will be a concerted attempt by insiders in Washington to scuttle any deal that Trump and Kim Jong-un may reach, says Professor Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.
Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Friday while commenting on the North Korean leader’s invitation to Trump to a historic summit.
A senior South Korean official said on Thursday that Trump has agreed to meet Kim by May, claiming that Pyongyang is ready to get rid of its nuclear weapons under certain conditions.
Speaking outside the White House after briefing Trump, Chung Eui-yong, South Korea’s national security adviser, said the US president appreciated the opportunity and vowed to try and “achieve permanent denuclearization.”
“The conventional wisdom is that the severe sanctions imposed on North Korea by the Trump White House are having their desired effects and have forced Kim Jong-un to seek talks with first South Korea and now Trump himself,” Professor Etler said.
“In order to do so some major concessions were made. The DPRK will stop nuclear and missile testing during the talks, acknowledge the goal of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and drop objections to annual joint military exercises held by the US and South Korea. These concessions were made to entice Trump to engage in a face-to-face meeting between him and Kim. Talks between a US president and a North Korean leader have never before happened during the 70-year-old conflict,” he said.
“But, is that the whole story? Long before Trump came on the scene the US has been intransigent in its dealings with the DPRK. During the Clinton administration a deal was worked out called the ‘Agreed Framework’ which shuttered North Korea’s plutonium reactor in exchange for two light-water reactors and an annual supply of petroleum to meet North Korea’s fuel needs. This was a very controversial agreement which was framed as an Executive Order rather than a treaty so it did not need Congressional approval. The subsequent Bush administration, however, reneged on the agreement and North Korea resumed it’s nuclear program,” the analyst stated.
N Korean nukes are to deter US aggression
“The reason for the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs was for deterrence. The Korean War never ended with peace accords and a state of war between the DPRK and the US and South Korea still exists. Ever since the cease-fire and armistice in 1953 tensions have persisted between the two sides. The North has always wanted a negotiated peace, recognition, and guarantees of its sovereignty. The US has refused to do so and has constantly threatened the North with regime change. The support of China and Russia however has helped maintain North Korea’s hold on power,” Professor Etler said.
“The US while attempting to thwart North Korea’s nuclear program has never wanted to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula. It’s primary objective has been to keep North and South Korea divided so it can maintain its forward deployment in East Asia with troops and military bases in Japan and South Korea as a means to contain China. Any resolution of the Korean conflict would but that objective in jeopardy,” he noted.
“The North Korean nuclear and missile programs have pushed the crisis on the peninsula to the brink. Given the current world situation with tensions increasing between contending power centers the situation on the Korean peninsula has become a flash-point that could lead to dire consequences. It has reached a boiling point in which tensions will either boil over or simmer down. The ever tightening US sponsored sanctions have taken their toll, but have they been sufficient to get Kim and Trump to the negotiating table?” he asked.
Role of Moon and China will come into play
“Here the role of [South Korean President] President Moon [Jae-in] and China comes into play. Moon was recently elected with the promise to seek an accommodation with the North much to the chagrin of his US overlord. China while acquiescing to Trump’s sanctions against the North has consistently called for talks, the recognition of the DPRK as a nation and international guarantees of its sovereignty. All these are necessary preconditions for any eventual reunification of the peninsula. The US has always stood as a roadblock to that ever occurring,” he stated.
“The logjam however was broken when Kim Jong-un made the first move and initiated a combined North/South Korean Winter Olympic team for the Pyeongchang Games. This set in motion a whole new ball game. Talks between the North and South were subsequently scheduled, placing the US in a difficult situation. With the potential of the two Koreas, China and Russia collaborating with one another the US was becoming more and more isolated,” he said.
Kim Jong-un’s bold initiative
“Kim Jong-un’s bold initiative to request talks with Trump is basically an offer that Trump could not refuse. Kim has made a set of concessions that meet US preconditions for talks, forcing the US to at last seriously consider a final resolution to the Korean conflict, something that the DPRK has sought all along. Ironically Trump’s belligerence towards the North allows him to engage in direct talks when his predecessors could not,” Professor Etler said.
“Will Trump, as an outsider, be able to negotiate a settlement with Kim to everyone’s mutual satisfaction? Already resistance to any such outcome is mounting in established political circles in the US. Both Democrat and Republican law-makers are urging caution and voicing skepticism,” he said.
“There will be a concerted attempt by insiders in Washington to scuttle any deal that Trump and Kim may reach. Any final settlement of the Korean conflict could herald a new era in US-China relations as well. As China rises inextricably and Russia regains its footing a modus vivendi between the US, China and Russia may be the best and only way for the US to maintain its influence in global affairs. Trump for all his bluff and bluster may be, like Nixon before him, the instrument for that to happen,” the analyst concluded.
Culled from Presstv