بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Trump Outmanoeuvred over North Korea
By: Faiq Najah*
The leaders of North and South Korea held a breakthrough summit meeting on Friday 27 April 2018 at the border village of Panmunjom in their demilitarised zone, and issued a declaration calling for “Peace, Prosperity and the Unification of the Korean Peninsula” and committed themselves to work for the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”. If this proceeds, it would bring an end to a state of war that has continued for the past 65 years and proved to be a constant source of instability resulting in multiple episodes of military conflict that has at times threatened to draw in the entire region. North Korea has emerged as a nuclear power and, most recently, its pursuit of long-range missile technology now directly threatens the territory of the United States of America.
This summit meeting took place with American permission and was undertaken in preparation for a more significant summit meeting already announced between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and expected to take place in the month of May. The American CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, also made a secret visit to North Korea prior to this meeting in early April.
The political atmosphere has already seen a dramatic change. Last year, Donald Trump was threatening nuclear war, China was being pressed to impose ever tighter sanctions on North Korea, Japan witnessed North Korean test missiles overflying its islands and Kim Jong-un was becoming increasingly isolated, never having held a formal meeting with the head of any other state in the world. But Kim has now met not only with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in but also with the Chinese president Xi Jinping in addition to his planned meeting with Donald Trump.
Although Trump is trying his best to take full credit for these events, the truth is that any normalisation of relations on the Korean peninsula contradicts with long-term American policy. The Chinese ascendancy is America’s principal global challenge at this time; America views China’s domination of the South China Sea as a direct threat to American control of the Pacific Ocean, which America views as its private waters. It is to combat China that America has been continuously stoking the Korean conflict thereby providing America with the excuse to continue its heavy military presence in South Korea including, most recently, the 2017 installation of the US THAAD system targeted at North Korea but whose powerful radar can easily penetrate Chinese airspace.
Additionally, the Korean conflict also helps justify the long-term US military presence in nearby Japan. This is the reason that US President Donald Trump used such heightened rhetoric against North Korea last year, even incredulously threatening nuclear war that would cause unimaginable destruction and devastation not only in Korea where US troops remain stationed but in the entire region, and whose long-term environmental effects would damage the entire world.
Inevitably, Trump’s crude bombastic language backfired, forcing even his own Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to moderate the US position. Furthermore Tillerson’s inexperience in politics allowed him to be drawn into a British-engineered plan to cool the Korean conflict, cosponsoring a conference in Vancouver on 16 January 2018 calling for North Korea to enter negotiations, in response to which Kim Jong-un was able to dispatch a high-profile delegation headed by his sister to the Winter Olympics held in South Korea. The British have their own evil objectives, aiming to bring China and the US into direct conflict with each other in place of their indirect conflict through proxies. In any case, after North Korea’s acceptance of negotiations, announced on 8 March 2018, Trump had no choice but to fire Tillerson who has now been replaced by Pompeo as Secretary of State. Trump’s current vigorous championing of these talks is in fact nothing more than an attempt to retake the initiative over the Korean conflict.
The role of President Moon Jae-in of South Korea has been key to these developments. Moon has a long history of opposition to America and American interests in South Korea, and also has previous experience in reconciliation with the ‘Sunshine Policy’ pursued by his mentor President Roh Moo-hyun (2003-08) but abandoned thereafter. Moon’s immediate predecessor, the very pro-American Park Guen-hye had been the one to permit the installation of THAAD and the Americans had to rush to install it on the eve of Moon’s ascension, knowing his anti-America stance. Nevertheless, Moon Jae-in has exhibited the utmost tact and maturity in the pursuit of his goals, carefully giving Trump full personal credit for whatever he achieves and welcoming Trump’s public adoption of a plan that is wholly anti-American in purpose and design.
It is quite possible that Trump will be able to retake the initiative over Korea and find a new way to foment conflict on China’s doorstep perhaps with some concessions in return. Ultimately, the actual source of danger and instability for the world is the secular Capitalist ideology that pursues material interests to the exclusion of all else. Humanity can only be saved by the return of Islam. The Islamic Khilafah (Caliphate) State will confront, contain and then cool today’s conflicts returning the world to peace, justice and prosperity as occurred under the millennium that the Khilafah State previously led the world.
* Written for Ar-Rayah Newspaper – Issue 181