Maybe this isn’t the right word under the circumstances, but Chinese media dropped an absolute bombshell on Wednesday. According to Reuters and China’s Xinhua, the world’s most powerful communist regime has secured a commitment from North Korea to begin denuclearizing. After a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly agreed to begin working in good faith with South Korea and the United States – a process that will inevitably require him to give up his nuclear weapons program.
Shall we chalk this up to yet another Trump victory? Yet another Trump win in the face of all the naysayers?
Maybe it’s too early to crack open the champagne, but there’s no question that we are closer to North Korean containment than we have been in decades.
“It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearization on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il,” Kim reportedly said. “The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace.”
In a statement President Xi said that Kim’s decision was a “strategic choice and the only right choice both sides have made based on history and reality, the international and regional structure and the general situation of China-DPRK ties.”
“We are ready to make joint efforts with the DPRK side,” Xi continued, “conform to the trend of the times, hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, continuously improve the well-being of the two peoples, and make positive contribution to regional peace, stability and development.”
This is far from set in stone, and it could still be that Kim wants an unacceptable concession from the U.S. in exchange for denuclearization; i.e. to have the U.S. remove all troops and military equipment from the Korean Peninsula. That’s unlikely to happen, and Kim’s promises will immediately be seen as a charade if that’s what he comes to the table with.
But it could be that North Korea is finally feeling the impact of international sanctions – to the point where Kim is watching his regime collapse in slow motion. If he’s truly to that point, he may see submission as his only chance to stay in power.