Wednesday, February 20, 2019 | ePaper

Trump-Kim both should agree to ease the global nuclear tension

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BRANDED as nefarious foes for more than five decades - the US and North Korean leaders - Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have landed in Singapore over a historic summit over the fate of North Korea's nuclear weapons programme. North Korea's state media said on Monday the pair would discuss a "permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism" on the Korean Peninsula, denuclearisation of the peninsula and other issues of mutual concern.
In what will be the first meeting between a sitting US President and the leader of North Korea, Trump has lowered the bar from initially demanding that Kim  immediately abandon North Korea's nuclear programme.
However, we want both the countries to come to a permanent agreement in order to reduce uncalled-for military and geo-political tension in the region. The North-East Asian region comprising of China, Japan, North and South Korea has often exploded in extreme volatility. Other than reducing nuclear tensions the summit is likely to takeout North Korea from the box of extreme isolation and brings it closer to the rest of the world. Against the backdrop of innumerable possibilities and speculations, North Korea cannot denuclearise completely right now but similar to Iran it has to cleverly buy time for delaying its programme for another 15 years or so.
For North Korea, incentives to the bargaining table include a peace treaty formally ending the 1950-53 Korean War, the cessation of hostilities, security guarantees, the lifting of economic sanctions and large-scale foreign investment. But for Donald Trump nothing can be predicted for sure. It appears he is much more interested in the theatrics of public policy rather than the substance of deal making.
To cut a long story short, no deal will probably be inked. It would only be the beginning of an icy relation which may or may not start melting. However, in political terms, the Trump-Kim exchange may simply come down to optics, with an overall messaging designed to boost both politicians stature with their respective home audiences: Trump promoting his image as a deal-maker, and Kim - who is believed to still be in his mid-30s - winning political legitimacy for himself and his country on the global arena. That said - if the two leaders sincerely decide to bring out more out from the meeting, they can, and we want to see that happening.


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