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We are in a good place when it comes to North Korea, historically speaking, and the table is set for President Trump in the much-anticipated summit between our countries in the coming weeks.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in resolved during their meeting to achieve “a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization.”
Additionally, both Koreas agreed to advance the official end of the Korean War. On July 27, 1953, an armistice, or cease-fire, was signed but no other formality was put in place to permanently prevent the hostilities from resuming.
The summit was remarkable to watch, with the two men smiling, holding hands and walking across the border into the North and then the South. No North Korean leader had been in the South since the end of the Korean War.
At the meeting Kim spoke to the skepticism around the North’s trustworthiness saying, “We have reached big agreements before but were unable to fulfill them. ... There are skeptical views on whether the meeting today will yield meaningful results. If we maintain a firm will and proceed forward hand in hand, it will be impossible at least for things to get worse than they are now.”
It’s a start. And a pretty good one.
Last week on Herald Radio, Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, Ret., who served as a U.S. adviser to the Second Republic of Korea Army, explained that the summit had exceeded his expectations: “I really think that this is a bigger deal than many are believing it is.”
Davis insisted that this expedition should not be compared to previous attempts at diplomacy between North and South Korea: “There is something fundamentally and substantively different about this one than all the others, and that is that the North Korean leader has shown an aggressive willingness to say things and do things up to this point already that none of his predecessors have ever done, and certainly the historic situation of meeting the South Korean leader on South Korean territory, which had never happened.”
Even the negotiation points are different: “He’s promising things in stronger terms than any of his predecessors.”
That we have gotten this far is due in large part to the Trump administration’s hard work, and the president was instrumental in the summit coming to fruition. South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told CNN, “Clearly, credit goes to President Trump. He’s been determined to come to grips with this from day one.”
On his upcoming meeting with Kim, Trump coolly told reporters, “We’re not going to be played, OK? We’re going to hopefully make a deal, if not that’s fine.”
Things are in motion on the Korean Peninsula and we’ll see if President Trump can achieve something wonderful for the world. This president has eschewed the previous administration’s policy of “strategic patience” and moved forward with a bigger, bolder and more expeditious plan.
Friday, in his speech at the Peace House on the border of the demilitarized zone, Kim Jong Un remarked, “It took a long time for the two Koreas to come together and to hold hands and we have long waited for this moment to happen, all of us. As I stand here today I can see that South and North Koreans are the same people, they cannot be separated. We are compatriots. We should not be confronting each other, we are the same people and should live in unity. I hope we will be able to live very peacefully in the future, as soon as possible.”
At the moment, these words are just that, words, coming from a dictator who presides over prison camps and political assassinations. But they offer a ray of hope.
Hard work lies ahead for all the parties involved and we should take care to be patient and demand real changes from the regime that has long terrorized the region and its own people. But we must also acknowledge that something very special is underway.
Let’s hope that President Trump can make a deal that opens the way for a bright future on the Korean Peninsula.