Diplomacy

  • A welcome thaw in Korean peninsula
- The Straits Times

Jan 17, 2018-Ever since the change of government in Seoul brought Mr Moon Jae In to power, the world has looked to some fresh thinking on the Korean peninsula. It is easily the world’s most dangerous place today, with a nuclear-armed North Korea confronting the US-led alliance at its doorstep. It was clear that the North would not move until it had reasonable assurance that it had done sufficient testing of its nuclear bombs and delivery systems to offer a credible deterrent. That it now seems to have achieved after six atomic tests. Thus, Mr Kim Jong Un has seized on the arrival of the new year to make conciliatory noises, couching them in his usual bravado. The South has responded. A military hotline has been reactivated. The two Koreas have held their first high-level talks in years and the result has been agreement that the North will send a large-sized delegation to the Winter Olympics, to be hosted by South Korea next month. In turn, to assuage Mr Kim’s insecurities, the United States and South Korea have agreed to not conduct war games during the Games. What is more, the US, while not overtly enthusiastic about the rapprochement, does not oppose it. Mr Moon has been wise to keep his big ally, President Donald Trump, onside all the way. It is possible that Mr Kim, who is far more of a rational actor than anyone gives him credit for, may have concluded that Mr Trump, the self-proclaimed “stable genius”, may turn out to be more of a risk-taker than previously imagined. This is reassuring.

Published: 17-01-2018 07:49

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