North Korea has long been part of worldwide love/hate relationship.
People love to hate North Korea’s “hermit kingdom” due to its oppressive and totalitarian communist regime along with its lack of economic or social freedoms. Open trade within the so-called Democratic People’s Republic remains stymied, despite recent reforms enacted by the country’s dictator Kim Jong Un.
But the word ‘reform’ in relationship with North Korea can be translated to words like ‘control’ or ‘dominate’. Any North Korean ‘reforms’ make Un’s oppressive rule over his people more efficient.
What does a Trump Presidency mean for North Korea?
Will Trump cut a deal with North Korea? Unlikely, but Trump has already shown a willingness to speak freely with controversial foreign leaders. If a call to North Korea did happen, many Americans trust Trump to negotiate with America’s best interests in mind.
Trump’s renewed fairness in global diplomacy perhaps lured North Korean state media to write a memo to the incoming president:
The above nine page memo to the US government decries Obama’s reign as President and his shortcomings. The letter is also a warning to the inbound Trump administration…
“The U.S. should face up to the new strategic position of the DPRK and take actual measures to show that they are willing to scrap its anachronistic hostile policy and nuclear threat against the DPRK. This, and only this will be the first base of resolving all the issues.”
NK News interprets the letter as basically a “policy review” on the state of North Korean-American relations from a propagandized perspective. It speaks primarily to Donald Trump as words of caution. Innuendo aside, the letter is a clear indication that North Korea seeks to maintain a hard line when asserting its sovereignty. This means continued human rights violations and unsanctioned nuclear tests.
What can happen in North Korea with Trump as President?
The letter clearly sets the tone for how North Korea will receive American foreign relations from the Trump administration. The Diplomat points out “it’s impossible to precisely determine the reasoning behind the release of such a memo, but Pyongyang may sense an opportunity.” Some in the DPRK’s regime views Trump’s administration as a birthing ground for “heterodoxy” in bilateral negotiation.
However, several analysts predict Trump will continue Obama administration policy toward North Korea for at least the first few months in office. Safe bets expect policy shifts concerning North Korea near the end of Trump’s “first-100 days in office” milestone.
Current United States and North Korean policy involves strategic coordination between neighboring regional states. This includes South Korea which maintains a strong defense against its Northern brother. Trump’s critics argue he would have no method for enacting or implementing new policy toward North Korea.
Amanda Macias of Business Insider contends that the United States and DPRK will not relate any better unless settlements are reached. The fear of nuclear warfare riddles western coverage of North Korea. However, a stance on settlements or a peace treaty of sorts is not a substantive sentiment when dealing with bilateral relations.
A positive policy would continue allied military exercises and the maintained presence, but South Koreans would be in charge rather than the United Nations. The region can shift toward peace through smart policy. The region could also get very messy if improperly approached by Western interests.
North Korea is a black hole Trump cannot get sucked into.
A security presence, in my recommendation, is still a effective strategy. The US should help South Korea gain full capacity to maintain its own military presence. The US can help South Korea become its own independent deterrence to North Korea’s potentially violent goals.
American influence should veer inward to homeland security and military reconstruction. America should slowly and incrementally move away from its costly presence in Asia. It should teach South Korea to become its own “big kid on the block.”
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