Kim's Latest Olive Branch: No More Nuclear Tests; Peace treaty with the South
Commentators generally are puzzled by Mr Kim's sudden about-face and are cynical about it. They are not taking account of the fact that he is a third generation dictator and that his grandfather's economic doctrine of "Juche" is not delivering the goods. It cannot have escaped his attention that his country is very poor. And he only has to look next door to see something very attractive to him: A country that remains under Communist control but is economically thriving via it's own version of capitalism: China.
I think it is highly likely that Kim is thinking of converting his country into something similar to China. About a year ago he did open some small supermarkets in his country. If a supermarket is not the badge of a modern economy what would be?
To make progress on the economic front, however, he needs to reduce military threats as he sees them. And a peace treaty with the South plus some sort of rapprochement with the Donald would achieve that. It would give him international legitimacy and free up his country's trade. The sanctions have surely brought to his attention how important trade is to supplying his country's needs
So I seem to be one of the few who think Kim has a substantial element of genuineness in his offers
Kim Jong-un, the dictator of North Korea, announced over the weekend that the Hermit Kingdom will immediately suspend testing of missiles and nuclear weapons, as well as scrap its nuclear test site altogether. Of course, Kim couched the announcement as having achieved his goal of developing those weapons, making further testing unnecessary. And, notably, he stopped short of saying North Korea would dismantle its nuclear arsenal. Yet we’ve come a long way from regular missile tests and Kim’s threat last year of “thousands-fold” vengeance against the U.S.
“North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site,” Trump said publicly. “This is very good news for North Korea and the World — big progress! Look forward to our Summit.” Privately, however, Trump says he’ll believe it when he sees it. After all, the Kim family dictatorship has a long history of making promises only to break them, and Kim’s express purpose up until now was developing weapons capable of striking the U.S.
Kim is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week and with President Donald Trump sometime in May or June. The latter meeting was announced on the same day Trump laid out his plan for steel tariffs that would hit China. Coincidence? Nope.
There is no doubt that apparent concessions by North Korea are in response to punitive sanctions issued last fall and, more recently, to Trump’s tariffs. Trade negotiations between the U.S. and China are indeed about unfair economic practices on the part of Beijing, but they’re also about convincing China to rein in North Korea. Progress may indeed be happening, even if Kim’s announcement is simply meant to keep talks on track for the time being.
Kim surely hopes that some olive branches will do the trick without having to abandon his nuclear program entirely. But one thing we’re fairly confident of: Trump won’t be making any Obama-Iran deals. He won’t win a Nobel Peace Prize either.