One Language, One Culture, and One History
North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in this past week at the DMZ, announcing plans to officially end the 68-year old Korean War.
The jovial visit was marked by a friendly stroll in a garden and a light-hearted moment where Moon invited Kim to cross the demarcation line into South Korea. The two leaders discussed the necessary actions for peace, with the most apparent being the denuclearization of the Peninsula. Following the meeting, Kim promised to make a public display of closing his nuclear sites this May.
This is a stunning continuation of developments and I haven't ever been this encouraged that we are on our way to a positive outcome. Many times in the past, most notably in 1985, 1994, 2000, and 2007, the world has been bamboozled by North Korea into thinking that they were going to change their ways.
This time I truly believe they mean it.
Kim and Moon share some things in common that previous leaders of these two countries did not. Most notably, to me, are the facts that both leaders were born in North Korea, and both leaders were educated in modern universities.
Moon was born in North Korea, only making his way to South Korea when his parents fled the North during the harshest hostilities of the war in 1951. He had previously traveled to North Korea in 2004 to meet members of his family separated from him by the war. He is very aware of the atrocities being committed by the Kim regime, but he is also aware, on a very personal level, of the people of the country. He strongly desires a peaceful resolution to the crisis due to his direct and emotional bond to the very people that would be so negatively affected by a violent regime-change. Moon is on the verge of securing this peaceful resolution.
Kim and Moon have already set in place the next steps of the process by scheduling a reunion of war-torn families this May. Additionally, plans have been put in place for Moon to visit Kim in Pyongyang this Fall for a summit. Kim punctuated the moment by stating, "With one language, one culture, and one history, North and South Korea will be joined as one nation." They are doing everything in their power, it appears, to keep their word.
But both countries are unable to do this by themselves. They need the United States and China to finish the deal.
Per the armistice of 1953, which halted the active hostilities of the Korean War, neither North or South Korea are able to amend the armistice; they need the full cooperation and agreement of the United States and China.
As we all know, the relationship between the United States and China is a little rocky right now, between the turf-wars in the South China Sea and the ongoing trade war. US leadership, however, is determined to make it work.
"There is an opportunity here that we have never enjoyed since 1950," said Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, illustrating the importance of getting a deal done. US President Donald Trump added, "This is something I hope I can be able to do for the world."
I trust that our leadership is ready to make a deal.
Only months ago did the world seem on the verge of nuclear war; we are now on the verge of the biggest peace deal since Emperor Hirohito announced to the world that Japan was surrendering in World War II. If we can achieve a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, with normalized diplomatic ties between North Korea and the rest of the world, perhaps we can finally see some stabilization in the world, and hopefully begin to find peace and comfort for all of those suffering North of the 38th Parallel.
This is what I hope for, and I think this dream might finally be coming to fruition.