Letters to the Editor

Has threat of nuclear war between US and NKorea diminished?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

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Dear Editor,

People seem to be surprised, shocked, disbelieving, and maybe hopeful at the reports that Kim Jong-Un wants to meet Donald Trump, and that Trump has apparently agreed to meet Kim some time in May.

It's reported by the South Koreans that Kim wants to talk about denuclearisation, firing no more missiles, and normalising ties with the USA.

But let's not hold our breath.

Anyway, were such a meeting to take place, and for Kim to agree to denuclearisation; to curtail, and to have his nuclear arsenal monitored, and ultimately got rid of, then something seismic would shift in the political and economic landscape of that country.

Here is what I think is going on: Lots of sanctions have been placed on North Korea, and one has to believe that they are suffering economically and diplomatically. Many of these sanctions have been imposed on them by the United Nations and the United States.

But, so what? Sanctions on other nations have been imposed, but they have not caused these sanctioned regimes to significantly change their behaviours. If anything, sanctions have hardened those countries' position.

This is really the key: China. They are the ones who are the movers and shakers here. China does not want the region destabilised, and so it's really their pressure on North Korea that has pushed Kim to want to negotiate — if that is what he wants to do.

For all of Trump's bluster about “fire and fury the world has never seen before”, and unleashing a nuclear Armageddon on North Korea, such hyperbole has not impressed Kim. Even Trump realised that he was blustering and that all his nuclear sabre-rattling talk was pure showmanship.

Why? Just recently, I heard Trump admitting that if a war were to break out on the Korean peninsula it would be utterly disastrous if an unimaginable number of people would be killed. He had come to realise that his military people and other sensible commentators were right; that no one would be the winner here. So it was, as it were, a stalemate. Better now to go through the motions of jaw-jaw rather than war-war.

Now, Trump being the perfidious character that he is, only time will tell whether a meeting will take place between him and Kim Jong-Un, and if it does, whether anything substantive will come from such a meeting.

We wait with bated breath.

George S Garwood


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