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Tsutomu Nishioka

【#524(Special)】Korea Becoming Tributary to China even in Best Scenario

Tsutomu Nishioka / 2018.06.28 (Thu)

June 25, 2018

     I take a positive view of the results of the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit on June 12. This is because the joint statement by U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can be interpreted as indicating that a deal was cut to provide “security guarantees” to North Korea in exchange for Kim’s commitment to “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” This apparently means that Trump would refrain from ordering any “beheading operation” (a military attack) against Kim while the North Korean leader implements the complete denuclearization.
     Kim was really afraid of such beheading operation last October. Finding that his location information had been leaked to U.S. military, he suspected the leakage to have been made by old cadres in the Organization and Guidance Department of the Korean Workers’ Party who had supported his regime for six years. After replacing them, he provided his sister Kim Yo Jong, the only person he could trust, with the department’s authorities over events attended by Kim Jong Un, his security, personnel appointments for the party, government and military, as well as controls over the Ministry of People’s Security (general police) and judicial organs that had been held by his purged uncle Chan Song Taek. Kim Yo Jong thus became North Korea’s effective No. 2 in power.

Pyongyang still pursues Red Unification
     Trump praised Kim Jong Un as “very talented” in a manner to demonstrate his utmost good faith in the North Korean leader. Behind the praise is his threat to order a beheading operation if Kim betrays the trust.
     However, a deal with Trump is also profitable for Kim Jong Un. Even while leaving more than 3 million citizens to starve to death, the hereditary dictatorship originating from his grandfather Kim Il Sung has continued the development of nuclear missiles reaching the U.S. mainland. The purpose was not to trigger and win a war with the United States, but to communize and annex South Korea. As preconditions for the unification of Korea under a federal system, Kim Il Sung had cited (1) South Korea’s establishment of a democratic government, abolition of the National Security Act and legalization of a communist party, and (2) the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the south and the abolition of the U.S.-South Korea alliance. The first precondition has almost been met with the birth of the Moon Jae In regime.
     What Trump requests younger Kim to do is not the liberalization of North Korea, but the dismantlement of nuclear missiles. If Kim Jong Un implements the dismantlement, the United States may sign a peace treaty with North Korea and normalize bilateral relations. In that case, South Korea dominated by leftist nationalism may expel U.S. forces and abolish the alliance with the United States with wide support from the population. Therefore, Kim Jong Un has no need to ask Trump to withdraw U.S. forces from the south.

Include abduction resolution into the deal
     As the Trump-Kim deal includes Japan’s economic assistance in exchange for Pyongyang’s dismantlement of nuclear missiles, the Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asserts the resolution of North Korea’s abduction of Japanese citizens as a condition for the economic assistance in a bid to take advantage of the Washington-Pyongyang deal to recover the abductees. In a worse scenario, Trump might make halfway concessions into the nuclear missile dismantlement. In the best scenario, North Korea’s denuclearization and the abductees’ return to Japan would be realized under a successful deal between Trump and Kim.
     Even in the best scenario, however, what will emerge on the Korean Peninsula might be a grotesque North/South federation controlled by Kim Jong Un or Chinese satellite countries. Either way, South Korean military will serve as a vanguard of forces hostile to Japan just in front of Japan’s Tsushima Island. This would be the result of a successful Trump-Kim deal Japan would have to face.

Tsutomu Nishioka is a member of the Planning Committee at the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals and Visiting Professor at Reitaku University.