by Brig Arun Bajpai

Taking the leaf out of what India did in 1998 ,when India after testing its nuclear devices physically and satisfied that in does not need more physical tests and that now onward any more tests needed can be done in labs, declared a moratorium on all nuclear tests, North Korea has now done the same. Having tested its nuclear devices and medium range ballistic missiles in the recent past, its recluse leader Kim Jong-un has announced a moratorium on all nuclear and missile tests.

Just a few months back America and North Korea were at daggers drawn. America wanted a denuclearised North Korea while North Korea was telling US that go jump in the nearest well as the North Korea will never denuclearise. Not only North Korea made these statements, it also started testing its nuclear devices and ballistic missiles. It claimed that it has developed ballistic missiles which can span the 10,000 km and hit American mainland. While America deployed its aircraft career groups in Korean peninsula and for some time it looked like a nuclear war between North Korea and US as imminent. America approached China to diffuse the situation but even China failed to convince North Korea, it’s most staunch ally, to behave. America with the help of UN then placed lot of sanctions on North Korea which got totally isolated but still it made no difference on North Korea.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim John-un exchanged lot of barbs on twitter. Suddenly US president trump offered a summit with North Korean chairman Kim whom he calls Rocket Man. Initially it was taken as a joke because in the entire history of North Korea no US president has ever met North Korean president. The condition of US president for Summit was that North Korean Chairman must agree for denuclearisation. Initially North Korean chairman said that neither North Korea will denuclearise nor will it stop testing of missiles. It also said that Summit is only possible if US withdraws its 28000 troops from South Korea.

As revealed by US now, its head of American intelligence agency CIA clandestinely met the North Korean Chairman Kim some time back. Since then North Korea which was refusing to listen to anybody has gone soft. After having announced a moratorium on all nuclear and missile tests the North Korea has now stated that it has no objection on America keeping its troops on South Korean Soil. This has totally changed the picture. Now the main hurdle to the summit between US president Trump and North Korea Chairman Kim has got removed. From the Tweets of American president Trump it appears that he is quite pleased with this development, despite that fact that North Korea has not committed to denuclearisation. President Trump has hedged his bet on North Korea and justified his summit with Kim sometime in May or June this year by saying that if the discussions in the summit do not go his way he will politely walk out of the summit.

As the things stand today it appears that this Summit between US president Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim will take place in May or June this year. North Korea will not denuclearise but will formalise it moratorium on any more nuclear or missile testing. Initially a de facto nuclear power it will in future demand recognition like India from US. In return from US it will demand end of sanctions and isolation. Most probably US will provide it and will try to pull it away from Chinese influence. US will not mind North Korea continuing being nuclear except that it agrees to destroy any missile or its technology that can reach US mainland. This way US will be able to place a nuclear armed North Korea on Chinese border which may not be prepared to tow Chinese line of thinking. A problem for China.

Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd) is a distinguished Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same