After the Trump–Kim summit in Singapore, some asked whether the meeting was a success. Well, depending on whom you ask, you will definitely get different answers. Nevertheless, even those all-time haters of Trump would have to agree that our world, particularly the nation of Japan and American soldiers in Asia, are safer now than weeks before due to this historic meeting.
However, if we look at this development on the Korean peninsula from another perspective and with more parties considered, we might draw a conclusion that the summit is a good start, may be a great start, and the climax and further implications of the summit are yet to come.
The critics of Trump argue that there were no specifics on paper, and the North Korean pledge of denuclearization lacks the CVI component—completeness, verifiability, and irreversibility. The need for CVI is a true and a good reminder of the nature of communist regimes. Thank goodness, Secretary of State Pompeo reiterated that issue and made it clear that CVI will be adhered to and the joint military exercises between South Korean and American forces will resume as soon as any sign of non-compliance is spotted.
Kim Jong Un from the Hermit Kingdom will very likely make good on his promise this time. The reasons are threefold: one, the times have changed; two, Trump is different from previous U.S. presidents; and three, Kim Jong Un has virtually no card left to play from his hand.
I am almost certain that Kim will give up his nukes, not because this brutal dictator has suddenly turned compassionate and benevolent, but because of Trump’s resolve, the military threat, and the international coalition against him. Dictators may be vicious to their own people, but are very afraid of death.
President Trump said that “anyone can make war—only the most courageous can make peace.” It is truly so. When I saw that Trump was not even afraid of offending Western allies such as the German Chancellor, French President, and Canadian Prime Minister, and capable of making friends with heads of hostile countries such as China, Russia, and North Korea, his actions made me think of those famous words from “The Godfather,” “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
According to an analysis by Reuters, North Korean state media changed its usual strict, poker-faced style and reported the summit with ease and relief. Obviously, this sense of relief and ease comes from high-level officials, very likely from Kim Jong Un himself, as he is probably truly relieved at not facing his personal doomsday.
The most crucial aspect of the joint statement by Trump and Kim, in addition to denuclearization and a “new US-North Korean relationship,” is the security guarantee that President Trump provides to North Korea.
The normalization of the U.S.-North Korea relationship is a thorn in the throat of the Chinese Communist regime. As North Korea has always been regarded as a little brother, little partner, and friend-in-combat-and-blood. It has been hundreds of years since China became the protector of the Korean peninsula and, particularly for the last 70 years, of the North Korean regime. Now almost overnight, the role of protector and guardianship has changed hands to America, which is a huge, mammoth humiliation to the Chinese Communist Party!
Interestingly, as America became North Korea’s new guardian, there is nothing the Chinese regime could do to prevent it or stop it. Even worse, China sent its own plane to take Kim Jong Un to Singapore, and even fighter jets as an escort. Handing its closest ally over to its archenemy, this is no doubt a double jeopardy for Beijing.
It is clear now that Kim Jong Un, on the other hand, has always tried to step out of the trap of the “Six-Party Talks,” and wanted to deal with America directly. When he killed his uncle and his own brother, it was indeed for his own safety and his grip on power, but it was also for him to clear out the influence of pro-China factions within his leadership team. This young, little “rocket man” has successfully forced America to treat him as an equal on the international stage.
Chinese media in Hong Kong and Taiwan view the summit as something strikingly similar to Nixon’s visit to China and meeting with Mao. This is actually quite a reasonable analogy, and that is also why the Chinese regime felt really uncomfortable with the summit and directed Chinese state-run media to under report the event.
When China and the United States established diplomatic relations following Nixon’s visit, China and the USSR almost went to war. Now, with the United States and North Korea on good terms, a conflict between China and North Korea is not utterly impossible.
Above all, the true meaning and significance of this summit goes beyond the denuclearization of North Korea. Its implication for the future, whether Trump realized this or not and did this intentionally or unintentionally, is to dismantle communist rule in northeast Asia, North Korea, and China!
Remember what Trump showed Kim Jung-un in that short video? By the way, it was a great public relations stunt by the White House to think of such a brilliant idea! What Trump shows and envisions for Kim and North Korea is vision of a free, capitalistic society where abundance of wealth, prosperity, and security are possible. Trump has, in fact, through both carrots and sticks, guided and asked the North Korean dictator to give up the communist system!
It was the fault of the Chinese Communists and the Soviet Communists that North Korea was involved in hostility with the free world. The Soviet and Chinese Communist regimes supported and helped to put in place the puppet regime of Kim Il Sung, grandfather of Kim Jong Un. The North Korean regime since Kim Il Sung was communist in nature, but named itself the Labor Party, not the Communist Party.
So giving up communism and embracing capitalism is not that difficult for Kim and his country, when they see that a little bit of capitalism in China has enabled a huge amount of wealth to be generated through trade with America, and now the Koreans can do the same without the oversight and scrutiny of its Chinese big brother!
In addition, Kim Jong Un is not that friendly with the Chinese Communist regime and Xi Jinping, as he never visited China since he took over power seven years ago, but only visited China very recently when he felt the huge pressure and imminent threat from Trump and needed some help.
The Trump–Kim summit has set the stage for a unified Korea, something only remotely possible just months ago. If that is the case, a Korean peninsula without communism and under the protective wings of America would really be a nightmare to Beijing, and that is the true and significant contribution and climax of the historic meeting in Singapore.
Dr. Frank Tian Xie is John M. Olin Palmetto Chair Professor in Business and Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of South Carolina—Aiken, in Aiken, South Carolina.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.