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A good start in Singapore

A good start in Singapore

Finally that surprise has also happened. Two men who had abused each other as 'mentally deranged' and 'rocket man' and had shown more arrogance than wisdom, met each other and signed a joint statement.

Following background discussions that lasted months and co-ordinated efforts involving countries including South Korea, China, Japan and Russia, US President Donald Trump and Chairman of North Korea Democratic Republic sat together in Singapore and forced open the door of peace. A beginning has been made in joint efforts towards North Korea's denuclearization and a peace treaty between the two Koreas. There are many unclear aspects in the accord signed between the two heads of state. It mentions four important points: establishing mutual relations between US and North Korea, building a lasting and stable peace in the Korean peninsula, reiteration of the Punmunjom declaration signed on 27th of last month committing to working towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and recovering remains of the prisoners of war and those missing in action in the Korean War. The specifics of each item and ways of implementing them are yet to be worked out. But this is not a shortfall. Ever since the Korean War during 1950-53, the US and North Korea, and South Korea and North Korea have been in deep enmity. When after six and a half decades that is being attempted to be ended, there is consolation that at least this much has been accomplished.

Trump and Un have expressed full optimism. While Trump said that both have established special personal relations between them and this beginning is better than what any one could expect, Un stated that this was a historic meeting and when they forget all that is past the world is going to witness a tremendous change. Un had stated right at the start that this is a beginning of peace. This transformation from war calls to a hymns of peace started with the participation of North Korea in the Olympics held in South Korea. Going by that event, the credit of that parting with the path of confrontation should go to Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Of course the efforts by Japan and South Korea should have persuaded Trump to a change of stance. After the Olympic diplomacy, the relations between the Koreas ceased to be one between foes and turned to an attitude between neighbours. For the US, if peace can be achieved, it can call back the 30,000 US forces stationed in South Korea. As for North Korea it will have the gain of lifting of sanctions on it. At the same time, as regards North Korea's nuclear capability which it calls its 'strong weapon' against US supremacy, it remains to be seen how much of it will be surrendered. As a wisecrack heard in the context, both have just passed the entrance test, and the real exam is the negotiations yet to happen.

For Trump, this is also a major propaganda ploy. Given that Kim Jong Un had agreed to denuclearization in South Korea as early as in April, the contribution of Trump in the matter is insignificant. But for Trump, who has been facing abundant denunciation at home, this is a short in the arm to regain his image. Trump, after strongly decrying the deal signed with Iran by former president Barack Obama and European countries, finally withdrew from that deal. It was unbelievable when that very same Trump agreed to sit to discuss with 'terrorist state' North Korea. If Trump had been trying to belittle Obama on the issue of the Iran deal, his choice to reach understanding with North Korea should have been to put himself above Obama. In the hands of Trump, who has proved himself as most unpredictable, any agreement, international relations will become uncertain and unstable. Even then, the Singapore declaration will be welcomed as a creative step. The door to peace has been opened. Will they will tread that path, and if they do to what extent, are things that future has to show. In the meantime, let us pray for peace to prevail.

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