President Kim of North Korea is playing smart game too

North Korea is now the leading newsmaker of the world after Iran. The impact of North Korean talks is quite highand if unsuccessful then can also lead to a disaster. Ever since North andSouth Korea began a summit in April to discuss the denuclearization of theKorean Peninsula and a possible peace treaty between the two countries, as theUS maintains pressure on the communist North to end its nuclear weaponsprogram, North Korean President Kim Jung Un has emerged as the smartest playeramong the all to secure his own interests out of the whole negotiation process.N Korean President Kim Jon Un is making stronger political commitments to theworld that it is ready to abandon the whole nuclear policy but at a cost. 



Yet, South Korean President Moon Jae-inwas earlier successful in convincing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to holdhis upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump at the demilitarized zoneseparating the two Koreas, although Singapore has now been decided the venuefor the talks. Just before Singapore, Mongolia and Indonesia were ready to hostTrump-Kim meeting, now Singapore has emerged as the choice of the venue despiteSouth Korea’s preference for the meeting at DMZ. In fact, Singapore also has adiplomatic relationship with North Korea. While Kim has told China and SouthKorea that he is willing to abandon nuclear weapons, he has stated that thiscomes with conditions. North's conditions include the removal of a US nuclearguarantee for South Korea and total removal of US troops from Korean peninsula.Now South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong has also secretlystarted discussing the same with US NSA Kohn Bolton and Pentagon for keepingKim’s demand in mind. This might alter Korean peninsula deployment pattern andsecurity architecture in the whole of Asia. This will have tremendous impactfor China.


Officially, China says it is willing tomaintain communication with North Korea on talk process and increasecoordination. But ever since Kim met South Korean President his attitude haschanged towards China. In fact, President Kim does not like President Jinpingvery much due to his superior behavior in the past. In the whole pre talkprocess, China had largely sat on the sidelines while the two Koreas improvedties, until Kim made a secretive trip to Beijing to meet Chinese President XiJinping in late March. Indeed, President Kim is also aware that his banks arein China so he is asking hard cash directly from South Korea. The main issue,from Beijing’s perspective, is that in the latest attempt to foster dialogue,there is no seat at the table for China. Talks have been taking placeexclusively on an inter-Korean basis to date; now there is the added promise ofa direct US-North Korea dialogue. However, none of the statements issued so far(which notably have only come from South Korean officials) have raised thepossibility of an expanded dialogue with China, much less a return to the fullSix Party Talks. In fact, the statement from South Korea’s delegationimmediately after their trip to Pyongyang focused on advances in inter-Koreanrelations, Kim Jong-un is making it clear that he is no one’s ‘little brother’— certainly not China’s. He wants to sit at the table with the United States.

For Beijing, the potential for aUS-North Korea deal negotiated without Chinese input is alarming. It ispossible that Chinese interests can be protected in a bilateral US-DPRKagreement, but there is no certainty and that will be China’s main concern. Ifthere are discussions about a peace treaty, for example, Beijing will want tohave a seat at the table and be part of the discussions, as well as a party tothe treaty. But this prospect seems to be very unsatisfactory for President Kimat this time due to his personal choices. During March visit to Beijing whichwas a secret visit by President Kim, China urged North Korea to demand forremoval of THAAD missile batteries and US fighter bases as a pre condition toUS President for a meeting. But President Kim did not assure Beijing on thistopic nor he showed any readiness to address Chinese concerns about Koreanpeninsula. When Chinese side asked for briefing about North Korea and SouthKorea dialogue process, North Korea has made in clear China needs to pay for itby economically and otherwise. Now all three parties, South Korea, US and Chinawill have to make payment for buying peace with North Korea that too with theterms and conditions of President Kim.