By Panayiotis Alimisis*
Despite the successful meeting between Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Yong Un, most analysts agree that it was nothing more than a temporary ‘peace’ plan. Behind the nervous smiles there was a mutual acceptance that both nations have a completely different philosophy of how politics and society must run. In geopolitical terms, North Korea tries to become a superpower in the East Asian region along with China, while the United States seeks a renewed role in the area, in order to compete the upcoming Chinese economic and military influence.
However, North Korea is Chinas terrestrial buffer zone in the Korean peninsula and Beijing will do whatever it takes to keep the current status quo untouched. The Chinese will never accept any kind of American presence on their borders, simply because they have traumatic experience form the Korean War, back in 1953.
At the same time, US allies in the region-Japan, Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan- express often their deep concerns for the growing Chinese presence in the Pacific Ocean, seeking American protection. Because of this situation, the White House suffers from a dangerous dilemma: If the US army confronts North Korea and China in the near future, theymight risk a war with unprecedented consequences. But if they don’t do nothing, they are facing the danger to lose control of the «yellow sea» trade routes and leave their allies to the mercy of the Chinese…
And the logical question is this: Can Washington bear to damage its global reputation?
American diplomats realize that North Korea is not Iraq or Afghanistan. Successive Kim leaderships since 1950’s shaped a society with huge problems, but ready and motivated for war any time and with any cost…Therefore, realism is the only route for both sides. Donald Trump has no choice, but to keep a balance between North Korean-chinese interest and that of the west.
In the next two decades is estimated that North Koreans, will be capable to hit American bases in the Pacific Ocean with accurate missiles if not even the west coast of the US itself. American public cannot afford a possible hit on their soil, while North Koreans are ready to die for their «dear leader». Despite the unbearable sanctions, Kim Yong Unstill enjoy the Chinese military support which keeps his regime alive.
Perhaps, the only reasonable American policy on the North Korean issue is constant diplomatic pressure, along with… tolerance. If the Kim Yong Un regime suspects any real threat to its existence, the whole region will end up in flames…
*Panayiotis Alimisis is a journalist. He studied Modern History and International Relations at London Metropolitan University.