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President Kim of North Korea is playing smart game too
North Korea is now the leading news maker of the world after Iran. The impact of North Korean talks is quite high and if unsuccessful then can also lead to a disaster. Ever since North and South Korea began a summit in April to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a possible peace treaty between the two countries, as the US maintains pressure on the communist North to end its nuclear weapons program, North Korean President Kim Jung Un has emerged as the smartest player among 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 the world that it is ready to abandon the whole nuclear policy but at a cost. 



Yet, South Korean President Moon Jae-in was earlier successful in convincing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to hold his upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, although Singapore has now been decided the venue for the talks. Just before Singapore, Mongolia and Indonesia were ready to host Trump-Kim meeting, now Singapore has emerged as the choice of the venue despite South Korea’s preference for the meeting at DMZ. In fact, Singapore also has a diplomatic relationship with North Korea. While Kim has told China and South Korea that he is willing to abandon nuclear weapons, he has stated that this comes with conditions. North's conditions include the removal of a US nuclear guarantee for South Korea and total removal of US troops from Korean peninsula. Now South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong has also secretly started discussing the same with US NSA Kohn Bolton and Pentagon for keeping Kim’s demand in mind. This might alter Korean peninsula deployment pattern and security architecture in the whole of Asia. This will have tremendous impact for China.


Officially, China says it is willing to maintain communication with North Korea on talk process and increase coordination. But ever since Kim met South Korean President his attitude has changed towards China. In fact, President Kim does not like President Jinping very much due to his superior behavior in the past. In the whole pre talk process, China had largely sat on the sidelines while the two Koreas improved ties, until Kim made a secretive trip to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in late March. Indeed, President Kim is also aware that his banks are in 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 place exclusively on an inter-Korean basis to date; now there is the added promise of a direct US-North Korea dialogue. However, none of the statements issued so far (which notably have only come from South Korean officials) have raised the possibility of an expanded dialogue with China, much less a return to the full Six Party Talks. In fact, the statement from South Korea’s delegation immediately after their trip to Pyongyang focused on advances in inter-Korean relations, 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 a US-North Korea deal negotiated without Chinese input is alarming. It is possible that Chinese interests can be protected in a bilateral US-DPRK agreement, but there is no certainty and that will be China’s main concern. If there are discussions about a peace treaty, for example, Beijing will want to have a seat at the table and be part of the discussions, as well as a party to the treaty. But this prospect seems to be very unsatisfactory for President Kim at this time due to his personal choices. During March visit to Beijing which was a secret visit by President Kim, China urged North Korea to demand for removal of THAAD missile batteries and US fighter bases as a pre condition to US President for a meeting. But President Kim did not assure Beijing on this topic nor he showed any readiness to address Chinese concerns about Korean peninsula. When Chinese side asked for briefing about North Korea and South Korea dialogue process, North Korea has made in clear China needs to pay for it by economically and otherwise. Now all three parties, South Korea, US and China will have to make payment for buying peace with North Korea that too with the terms and conditions of President Kim.