The Soap Box: Denuclearising the Korean Peninsula is a step in the right direction

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 13 June 2018, 6:37AM
Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un. (Photo / Getty)
Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un. (Photo / Getty)

They came, they shook hands, initially with little emotion, they talked, they dined and they finally returned to their hotels sated, not just with the five star lunch they had consumed, but with being the global super stars, even if some would say they’re still punk rockers.

Just a couple of months ago this summit in Singapore looked doubtful, such were the sensitivities of the two men taking part. It all hinged on both Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un keeping their cool and they did.

On a personal front it may have been a bad hair day for both, that’s unavoidable, but on the diplomatic front it was a doozie for détente.

The President as always was aware of the image he was portraying, at one point asking a photographer whether he was getting a good pic, adding he wanted them to look nice and handsome, beautiful and perfect. That was an impossible request, certainly even more difficult to achieve than the only one that really matters.

But rather than yelling obscenities at each other they’re finally talking and hopefully we’ll all eventually start feeling a little more secure.

The outcomes to a lot of these sorts of meetings are scripted well in advance. However on this one, given the volatile nature of the two participants, that was never going to be easy.

Still the signing of a document denuclearising the Korean Peninsula is obviously heading in the right direction but the devil will be in the detail. The devil down the track could well be the Chinese and how they would feel about the possibility of a greater American presence in the region.

It was obviously negotiated well before the summit but would have depended on how the two former protagonists got on.

So the signing was a rehearsed showcase event to top off what was obviously an historic day. But it’s from here that the real talking starts.

This was the most unusual meeting of two of the most unusual leaders of modern times and there was little conventional about it. The fact that these two men were on their own for the first 40 minutes accompanied only by their interpreters was highly unusual for such a significant event.

The talks with officials lined up on either side of the two leaders that followed obviously was more about where to from here and what will be involved.

The Americans insistence on the cessation of North Korean nuclear programme that was begun by Kim’s dictatorial grandfather Kim Jong-sung was always their bottom line.

And from the North Korean side, Kim wants more prosperity for his dirt poor country, largely made that way because of the money that’s been poured into its nuclear programme.

He got a taste of that prosperity on a night out in Singapore which took him to the weird passenger liner structure draped across three high rises which tops off the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

So Trump returns to Washington feeling good about himself to celebrate his birthday on Thursday and Kim returns to Pyongyang dreaming about what the wealth of the west is capable of delivering providing he can keep the devil in check.

That will be his biggest test!

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