Despite the blunt talk, harsh rhetoric and insults flying back and forth — or perhaps because of it — it would appear that President Donald Trump has maneuvered North Korea into a situation where they are now engaged in constructive dialogue with South Korea about peaceful cooperation going forward.
In fact, The Washington Times recently reported that South Korean President Moon Jae-in stated Trump “deserves big credit” for creating an environment in which the two nations could come together to renew talks that have been on hold for many years.
“It could be a resulting work of the U.S.-led sanctions and pressure,” Moon told reporters. “I think President Trump deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks.”
In a phone call between the presidents of the U.S. and South Korea, Moon specifically thanked Trump “for his influential leadership in making the talks possible.”
With all of the failed “experts” weighing in, does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total “might” against the North. Fools, but talks are a good thing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2018
Just a week later, USA Today reported that following a third round of discussion between the North and South, a rather significant agreement has been reached between the two rival nations, one that potentially could lead to further cooperation and eventually even peace on the divided Korean peninsula.
The announced agreement involved a decision for the two nations to march together in the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in Seoul in February. The athletes and representatives of the two nations will march together under a joint flag which features a blue silhouette of the peninsula over a white background, a flag last seen when the nations marched jointly at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
On top of that, the two nations also agreed to join forces when it comes to women’s ice hockey and field a combined team, though they will need approval from the International Olympic Committee before that part of the agreement is finalized.
Furthermore, skiers from both nations will train together at a special ski resort in North Korea ahead of the games.
“We see this as an opportunity for the regime to see the value of ending its international isolation by denuclearization,” stated White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday. “We still are very much focused and hope that that happens.”
“We hope that this experience gives North Korea and its athletes a small taste of freedom, and that that rubs off, is something that spreads and impacts in these negotiations and in these conversations,” she added.
However, while the announcement of cooperation during the Olympics is no doubt a good thing that could portend a greater thaw in relations going forward, many analysts and experts on the region remain quite cautious and wary of potential ulterior motives on the part of North Korea, namely that they are simply buying time to ease pressure and sanctions so they can continue to work on building up a nuclear arsenal.
That said, as of right now, by all appearances it would seem that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has stepped back from the bright red line Trump drew for him in regard to his increasingly belligerent and threatening behavior.
Now, contrast Kim’s step back from the red line with what happened when former President Barack Obama drew his own red line in Syria so many years ago, and it is obvious that the game has changed entirely with a new leader in the White House.
Trump and members of his administration have made it crystal clear that continued provocations from Kim would not end well for him, and at least for the moment it appears that Kim believes and understands what he has heard — a far different outcome from what happened several years ago in Syria.
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