Voices from Russia

Sunday, 1 July 2018

1 July 2018. A Point to Ponder From Kim Jong-un

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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Pentagon Sez Washington and Seoul Suspend Joint Military Drill

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Late Monday, US officials said that US and ROK forces won’t conduct a joint military drill that scheduled to take place in August, following a historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and DPRK Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in which the two heads of state agreed to make peace on the Korean peninsula. Trump verbally vowed to end USA-ROK “war games” following the summit with Kim in Singapore on 12 June. An official told Reuters that the Ulchi Freedom Guardian drill wouldn’t take place this year as it did last year. Meanwhile, on Monday, Pentagon source Dana White said in a press release that the USA and the ROK suspended planning for a joint military exercise near the Korean peninsula scheduled to take place in August:

Consistent with President Trump’s commitment and in concert with our ROK ally, the US military suspended all planning for this August’s defensive war-game Freedom Guardian. There have been no decisions on subsequent war-games. Also, this decision hasn’t affected Pacific exercises outside of the Korean peninsula. US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and National Security Advisor John Bolton will meet later this week to discuss the issue.

Last year, Pyongyang requested the UN Security Council to discuss Ulchi Freedom Guardian because it was essentially a rehearsal for an invasion of the DPRK. According to the Pentagon, the drill would involve 17,500 of the 28,000 US troops in the ROK and UN Command forces from seven countries, including Australia, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Britain.

19 June 2018

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/asia/201806191065528849-south-korea-usa-drills-suspension/

Friday, 15 June 2018

Kommersant: DPRK Gains Equal Footing with USA, Secures Concessions

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The historic meeting between the leaders of the USA and the DPRK in Singapore split those who viewed it as the first step towards normalisation on the Korean peninsula and those who called the document signed by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un “weak” and “without substance”. Kim gave no guarantees of immediate disarmament, whilst Trump avoided direct security guarantees but promised not to carry out annual US-ROK drills. Experts agree that Kim emerged as the key victor since he succeeded in pulling his state out of isolation and achieving recognition of equality from the USA, neither his father nor his grandfather managed to accomplish this. The preparations for the first-ever meeting between US and DPRK leaders was reminiscent of a tremendous reality show and the historic handshake that was an informal outcome of the Singapore summit gave a clear signal to the world… peace and security on the Korean peninsula are in good hands for the first time over the past dozens of years. A diplomatic “Singapore wonder” occurred… the Little Rocket Man turned into an equal interlocutor and a potential partner of the US leader. Aleksandr Gabuyev, head of the Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said:

Kim achieved the most important outcome… the signing of an agreement with Washington diverts the threat of a war on the Korean peninsula, which was quite real this winter. Over the past six months, Kim managed to end diplomatic isolation, restore tarnished relations with China, hold two meetings with ROK President Moon Jae-in, host a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs S V Lavrov, and gain recognition by Trump as “a very talented man” who “deeply loves his country”.

Go Myong-hyun, an expert from the ROK ASAN Institute for Policy Studies, noted:

The DPRK denuclearisation path is a Libyan scenario vice versa. The USA halts drills, pulls the DPRK out of isolation, and Pyongyang vowed to “work towards denuclearisation” without any particular timeframe and a plan. Kim pledged to move towards a nuclear-free DPRK rather than “a denuclearised Korean peninsula”.

13 June 2018

TASS

http://tass.com/pressreview/1009261

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Singapore Summit: A Momentous Event Pregnant With Risk and Hope

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The Oxford dictionary definition of the adjective “momentous”’ is as follows:

Of great importance or significance, especially in having a bearing on future events.

Therefore, we could’ve invented that word with the Singapore summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in mind. Peace is desirable anytime and for all time. If I may have a brief attempt at ascending Shakespearean heights, in the affairs of men, peace is one of the last frontiers humanity is yet to conquer. Moreover, these tumultuous and tempestuous times, the lack of peace… which means to say not merely an absence of conflict but instead an absence of the threat of conflict… hangs over all of us like an incubus. Personally, I don’t recall having ever experienced the sense of dread I experienced over the Douma crisis in April. It really did seem that we perched on the precipice of World War III. I like to believe and sincerely hope that having emerged from that crisis the world did so awakened to the folly of relegating diplomacy to the back of the queue when it comes to international affairs and disagreements and pushing the military option to the front.

This brings us to the presidency of Donald J Trump. In Trump, the world has a US president more worthy of serious character study by behavioural scientists, even perhaps psychiatrists, than any other… which I realise is a bold statement considering the previous incumbents of that office. Capricious, unpredictable, unstable, narcissistic, temperamental, mercurial… Trump has been justifiably described as all of the above since entering the Oval Office as the leader of the world’s most powerful country with no prior political experience. yet and yet… isn’t it he rather than Obama or Clinton or Bush who succeeded, while in office, in pulling off such a momentous event as the first sit-down face-to-face meeting with the leader of the DPRK since the state was established in 1948? Therefore, does his success in doing so suggest evidence of method in his apparent madness?

Certainly, more and more are beginning to come round to this assessment. In addition, considering the abrupt shifts in tone and tenor that he continually engages in… threatening conflict and war one day, talking peace and stability the next… why wouldn’t they? Nevertheless here’s the thing… while unpredictability and caprice may be an attribute in the world of business when it comes to negotiating and clinching deals, in the world of geopolitics involving matters of war and peace it carries with it the potential for catastrophic consequences. In answering our earlier question regarding Trump’s success in pulling off a face-to-face meeting with the DPRK’s Kim Jong-un, let us be clear… credit for success in establishing this peace process belongs entirely to Kim Jong-un and ROK President Moon Jae-in. In fact, the only reason Trump is in Singapore, basking in the credit, is down to the fact he really had no choice in response to the Koreans taking the initiative in embarking on positive and constructive dialogue. Thus, the Trump Administration is tailing this process, not spearheading it.

The million dollar question is, “Will it attempt to sabotage it?” The DPRK’s survival as an independent state, given what it’s been through… the asphyxiating isolation in which it’s been forced to exist over decades… is remarkable. This isolation came at a heavy price despite the brave face the country’s leadership maintained for the consumption of its enemies, particularly Washington. In December 2017, UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein outlined the grim reality of life in the DPRK for millions of its people under the most brutal sanctions ever imposed on a state by the UN since those imposed on Iraq between 1991 and 2003. Mr Zeid went so far as to recommend that the UN Security Council conduct an urgent investigation into the impact of the sanctions on the people of the DPRK and find ways to minimize their “adverse humanitarian consequences”.

No matter the obfuscation and attempts to beguile people into believing otherwise, those adverse humanitarian consequences were precisely the effect intended by those responsible for imposing sanctions, turning them into a grotesque experiment in human despair. Moreover, let’s not mince words… the only reason they hit the DPRK with such punitive and cruel sanctions was that it refused to give up its independence and submit to the writ of Washington. As for those who declaim against anything which smacks of an attempt to let the DPRK leadership and government off the hook when it comes to the desperate plight of its people, this conforms to an exercise in treating symptoms as causes and thus defending the indefensible when it comes to the brutal and unremitting role of the Empire in sowing misery and mayhem.

The economic, social, and political development of any given state is inextricably linked to the external pressure arrayed against it. As such, berating a given state over its lack of development in these areas while it exists in the crosshairs of imperialism is like grabbing someone by the throat and berating them for not breathing properly. In sitting down to discuss peace with an adversary that was responsible for the biblical suffering of its people throughout his country’s existence, Kim Jong-un does so in response to the suffering of his people. He more than anyone is aware that there’s a marked difference between a Carthaginian peace, a Pax Americana, and a peace agreed between equals in a spirit of reconciliation and good faith. Pessimism dictates that some wish to impose the former on the DPRK. Optimism hopes that the ROK leadership in Seoul possesses the requisite determination and will to refuse to accept anything less than the latter.

Whatever the outcome… here, let’s hope that this summit and continuing peace process ends in peace with security for the DPRK… the obstacle to normalisation on the Korean peninsula has never been Pyongyang… it’s always been Washington.

12 June 2018

John Wight

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201806121065340625-singapore-summit-risk-hope/

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