by Brig Arun Bajpai

On Friday the 27 April, in the historic summit between North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un and south Korean President Moon Jae-in, all said and done, Kim has taken out the bluster from the proposed Summit between him and president Trump of US, likely to be held within a month or two.

There is no iota of doubt that it was nuclear war threat of US President Trump on North Koreas continued testing of nuclear devices and also testing long range ballistic missiles as also American led UN sanctions on North Korea, further isolating the impoverished country, that forced Kim to come from behind the Iron Curtain and go ahead with summit with South Korean President Moon and later agree to a summit with President Trump himself. However Kim by his this actions has reduced the various options available to President trump to force Kim on denuclearisation issue, the chief demand of US.

On this Friday summit with South Korean president Moon, Kim has vowed that he will no more test nuclear weapons or fire ballistic missiles. He also talked about ending the Korean war scenario of 1953 between the two Koreas, if America guarantees a peace treaty with no possibility of US launching an attack on North Korea. All this is fine, but Kim has been very vague on the time frame of his denuclearisation offer as also specific conditions for the same. This despite the fact that he said that he is not the type of person who will shoot missiles at South Korea or the US. It is worth noting that even though on this Friday Kim and Moon signed a joint declaration, recognising a nuclear free Korean Peninsula and complete denuclearisation as common goal of two Koreas but at No point of time Kim has publicly renounced his nuclear weapons. He further hedged his bets by saying that denuclearisation of his country will require long term negotiations of multiple kind and will be a long drawn process. He however did give a vague idea that if North Koreas meet often with the US and mutual trust is built then why should North Korea live with the burden of nuclear weapons.

There is no doubt that these peacemaking comments of Kim have been a dramatic turn around. it was not very long back that Kim drove Korean peninsula to brink of war last year by launching series of ballistic missiles and conducting nuclear tests. It this turn around that lot of experts are doubting. they feel that Kim is offering this moratorium on all nuclear tests because North Koreas only nuclear test site has collapsed during last test and that Kim has now got all that he wanted from these tests. So no more tests are required. He has made now task of President Trump difficult in the Summit to be held because US can now no more threaten North Korea with war, when North Korea has already applied moratorium on all types of tests. Kim also appears to have stumped China, its sole benefactor. Kim appears to want to retain his nuclear capability, at the same time come closer to US. His statement that he no more demands US troops to leave South Korea is significant.

China has been demanding this since 1953. Possibility cannot be ruled out that US may accept a nuclear North Korea on the borders of China which is not so much inclined and dependent on China or forms a federation with South Korea, with both Koreas united. This will bring NATO and US on the borders of China with North Korea nuclear armed. US will have no objection to North Korea being nuclear if it gives up developing long range ballistic missiles which can reach US main land.

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