The news that Kim Jong Un is pursuing denuclearization and possibly peace with South Korea has created a hopeful possibility in the midst of far too few developments we could term good news lately. The Trump supporters give him the credit while his detractors praise South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in. No surprises there.
Perhaps we should pause and reflect upon some of the recent background developments that may point to an entirely different set of wheels that were set in motion:
- China has been warning Taiwan of late that their intransigence and independent streak would be met with potential military might. Somewhat alarming has been China’s show of power with live ammunition in the Taiwan Strait.
- President Xi Jinping recently hosted Kim Jong Un for an undisclosed but clearly important meeting in China. Prior to this meeting the two had become estranged as young Kim had been behaving badly.
- China claims that the fifth nuclear test damaged the internal mountain structure and could be leaking radioactivity. That was announced in the Fall of 2017. But more recently China claims the latest test has resulted in the cratering of the mountain and significant damage to the nuclear testing infrastructure. The mountain had shown no surface damage whatsoever after the first four detonations.
- Kim Jong Un has just recently announced the suspension of further nuclear testing, and China would have the world believe it was due to the damaged internal mountain structure.
- President Trump is not a student of history or politics. He is not inclined to do much more with any nation other than mano-a-mano trade agreements. He does not favor broad international cooperative agreements such as TPP or NAFTA.
That is background and context. Presidents Trump and Xi have had several discussions since Trump took office. Xi is now President for life in China. Is it possible Macau and Hong Kong were discussed? How those two were relatively seamlessly folded back into mainland China, without bloodshed or even significant protests? Why not the renegade province of Taiwan? What possible reason would President Trump have to defend Taiwan against Chinese aggression?
And is it also conceivable that the meeting between Xi and Kim Jong Un involved an ultimatum that North Korea resolve the nuclear issue and make peace with the south or China would pull its support? It is no secret that President Trump was hell-bent on ratcheting the pressure from increasingly onerous sanctions to a full-on attack.
Recall the only reason North Korea survived 1953 was a result of China stepping into the fray to support them.
President Trump makes deals. Mano-a-mano. To Trump, after 25 years of American President failures dealing with North Korea, a peaceful resolution to this problem would seal his fame forever in history. For Xi, Taiwan would quietly be told they could no longer expect the United States to fight to defend them, ending that standoff once and for all.
We know the media will not do well digging into the back-story. They will write whatever their own market wants them to say, supporting whomever their readers support. But thoughtful people can put two-and-two together, and whether this scenario or some other, things are not always what they seem (Ecclesiastes 6 and 7).