Sentosa Agreement: Naughty Boy V/s Fat Kid

Many things happen first time although baffling winds try to create hurdles. Like Prime Minister Modi became the first Indian PM to attend Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore. Similarly, D J Trump became first American president to meet leader of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Kim Jong Unn became first North Korean leader to meet an American president individually. There is nothing surprising in it. And as we know ‘good politics is good and bad politics is bad.’ The two rivals came on negotiation table to wipe out the insecurity felt on both sides of Pacific Ocean. In a joint declaration on 12 June 2018 at Sentosa Island in Singapore, US President and Korean Leader pledged to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula while Washington committed to provide security guarantees for its old enemy, North Korea.

Some people think the historic summit is welcome news for humanity. But will the Trump-Kim summit come to be seen as the dawn of a new, positive era in relations between the two rivals? Who emerged winner, Trump or Kim? There are difference of opinion regarding the summit and commitment made here. Some people think the commitments made were already in earlier agreements in much strict form while others feel Kim emerged winner at the end of the game. It is believed, South Korea was given checkmate by Kim, because Trump agreed to end marine army drill in Pacific with Seoul. In depth of the conflict, China is benefitted, because American supremacy in nearby sea ends with this agreement. So, China’s mediation role in Kim-Trump summit was to end US high handedness in nearby sea and land. Some people feel Kim Jong Unn played a gamble with the fate of his people because after few years there will be a new president in USA who may withdraw the deal, like it happened with Iran. But many experts bear the opinion; Kim Jong Unn was much benefited than they have thought. Defense analysts call this Kim-Trump summit end of war games. All these questions and opinions are making rounds in media, especially on social media.

The impossible summit passed through different hurdles. Earlier Fat Kid gave assurance to meet Naughty Boy but North Korea abruptly cut off talks with US ally South Korea on May 15, 2018 and threatened to cancel the planned summit, citing joint military action “Max Thunder” of US and South Korea threat to the security of Korean people. The summit actually happened. Naughty boy and Fat Kid met face-to-face on 12 June 2018 in Singapore signing a historic declaration. Trump-Kim document contains four main points, which are:

1.The United States and the DPRK (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.

It means the end of fiery rhetoric that had deteriorated the relation between Washington and Pyongyang. Kim used state propaganda to depict US an enemy of Korean people which provided him ample power to get trust of Korean people. One goal of North Korea’s nuclear program has been to command higher status on the global stage, and the sit-down with Trump advanced its cause. The aim of developing nuclear weapons and threatening US and its allies was to bring American president on negotiation table and force him to end economic restrictions imposed on North Korea. Therefore, summit was great victory for Kim Jong in this respect.

2.The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

World War II resulted in division of Korean peninsula into communist Northern half and non-communist southern half, separated by 38th parallel. Korean War began in 1950, when communist North Korea crossed 38th parallel with Russian tanks which invited wrath of US who acted on South Korean side. 1950-53 Korean War is called “The Unforgettable” in USA. In 1953, at the end of war, an armistice was signed. Sentosa dialogue was a replacement for 1953 armistice. DPRK got unspecified security; in return Kim pledged complete denuclearization of Korean Peninsula.

3.Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

CVID (Complete, Variable and Irreversible Denuclearization) is acronym for Kim-Trump Summit. The US side is insisting CVID on North Koreans in this summit. The unprecedented threats from Pyongyang were much worrying for US and its allies. Therefore, US defense department laid much stress on complete dismantlement of Korean missile launching sites and armaments, the program, they also acronym with CVID. Although difficulties abound it and it will cost millions of dollars but US commitment for complete denuclearization of Korean peninsula is to evade threats imposed by Pyongyang. According to analysts, Kim-Trump agreement fails to define what it meant by denuclearization. In Washington, it requires Kim to abandon his ambitious nuclear program. Kim agreed in lieu, US will withdraw its forces from South Korea and end nuclear programs and armed forces joint drill with Seoul. After accepting this point, once again experts feel Kim appeared victorious.

4.The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

One of the many legacies of the 1950-53 Korean War is the recovery and repatriation of the remains of prisoners of war (POW) and soldiers who went missing in action. Estimated remains of 53,000 American soldiers are potentially recoverable. Meanwhile, it was also documented in agreement to return abductees of Japan and South Korea.

Bruce Klingner, a former CIA analyst who is now the conservative Heritage Foundation’s top expert on North Korea, called document very disappointing. Klingner described each of the four points in Kim-Trump document weaker than previous ones with DPRK. He described denuclearization deal is weaker than “Six Party Talks.” The six-party talks were a series of multilateral negotiations held intermittently since 2003 and attended by China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, and the United States for the purpose of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program. The talks were hosted in Beijing and chaired by China. North Korea decided to no longer participate in the six party processes in 2009. In subsequent years, other participants, notably China, have called periodically for a resumption of the process. Kim John Unn’s readiness to denuclearize Korean Peninsula is much annoying for some experts. Neighboring nation like Japan and South Korea accept the summit may be fruitful in reducing risks of military conflicts.

Conclusion:

Beijing’s quick response in favor of Sentosa summit was because ‘Beijing got everything what they want.’ China’s objective to maintain stability on Korean peninsula is of less importance than reducing American influence. Though, China encouraged denuclearization program but Beijing’s main aim was at diminishing American dominance in its near vicinity. In this way China appeared victorious in these games of war and threats. Although, Japan’s response was less positive, Shinzo Abe no doubt pleased that Trump raised the issue of Japanese abductees. The unpredictable Trump went on singing and agreed to end joint exercise with South Korea which agitated South Korean Moon, which shows Seoul feels at losing side in this game. Japan and South Korea, the North’s threatened neighbors, aren’t even mentioned in the joint statement. And there was no reference to the atrocious human rights record of Kim’s regime or any indication that it was about to change its ways. Therefore, we can say, “the summit was a mere show of powers.”

Sheikh Nissar can be reached at sheikhnissar@Outlook.com