You are here

Gradual denuclearisation of North Korea beginning to sink in Trump’s mind

Jun 29,2019 - Last updated at Jun 29,2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had received an "excellent" letter from US President Donald Trump recently in reply to the "beautiful" letter that he had sent to President Trump earlier this month.

This exchange of "pleasantries" between Trump and Kim can be linked to the role and mediation of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, bolstered by his recent visit to Pyongyang. President Xi may have played the role of the conciliator in nurturing good relations between Kim and Trump in anticipation of a good trade deal between his country and the US during the G-20 summit in Osaka.

Chinese leader Xi has obviously strengthened his hand vis-à-vis President Trump by showing that he, and he alone, can deliver the North Korean leader Kim in the projected resumed negotiations on the denuclearisation of North Korea.

North Korea is heavily dependent on China in the import of essentials, and the two countries have a long history of partnership in matters related to defence and other critical bilateral relations. It has been reported that Beijing is promoting the idea of a gradual deals approach between North Korea and the US as the only realistic way to advance the stalled talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

Seeking the immediate denuclearisation of North Korea by calling on it to get rid of its nuclear arsenal and stop, all military nuclear activities, all in one step, does not seem to be in the cards. The gradual rather than the immediate denuclearisation of North Korea is beginning to sink in the mind of President Trump, as the two sides need to test one another every step of the way.

The success or failure of this narrative will depend on the agreement or the lack of it between Trump and Xi on their countries' trade differences. Irrespective of whether China's diplomacy to mediate between Washington and Pyongyang succeeds or fails, China will still emerge from all this as a major power broker on the international arena that can make or break major political or economic deals between nations.

President Trump needs to mend fences with China after becoming entangled in a standoff with Iran that can turn sour any minute. With the presidential election season already started, Trump needs to calm his country's relations with many nations before election day. One battlefield with Iran is more than Trump can afford to have now on the eve of the next presidential election.

62 users have voted.


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.