President Donald Trump, fresh out of a turbulent G-7 summit in Canada, has taken a step for peace on the Korean peninsula agreeing with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to denuclearize the region.
The agreement is vague calling for the "denuclearization of the Korean peninsula" and "providing U.S. security guarantees for North Korea" and thus is a first step in a long march to peace in the region. Yet under the current international circumstances it is a very positive development which both Trump and Kim will use for domestic consumption.
Trump needs such foreign policy scoops as he is under serious pressure from his friends and foes because of his controversial foreign policy decisions.
Pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran, declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the U.S. Embassy to this ancient city, his controversial decisions that could spark a global trade war have all made Trump an international hot head.
It seems he now wants to use this Korean deal to repair some of his international image and thus we have seen all the theatrics in Singapore as he met with Kim and said over and over again he was "honored" to have met the North Korean leader.
This first step for peace in the Korean peninsula is fine but the actual process of denuclearization in the region is easier said than done. It needs efforts from all sides and the use of Chinese assistance. It is no secret that you cannot achieve much in North Korea without cooperation from Beijing. The Chinese now say they are happy with the deal and hope this will lead to the gradual lifting of the international sanctions on North Korea.
The deal also has brought a sigh of relief in South Korea and Japan, both friends of Turkey. It is clear that while the Koreans and the Japanese are quite happy with the deal the administrations of Seoul and Tokyo feel a cautious optimism. They have been optimistic in the past yet they have been badly disappointed after North Korea fell back on its promises.
This time it is clear that the North Korean leader has won recognition by Washington and would not like to blow this golden opportunity to ease back into the international community.
Skeptics of course have started grumbling that the deal does not mention the poor human rights record of the North Korean regime and what will be done to ease the sorrowful plight of the North Korean people. Yet in such circumstances, it seems you first build up the momentum and as time goes by you start addressing such issues like human rights, civil liberties and basic freedoms.
Turks of course are happy about any development that is positive in the Korean peninsula. Turkey has a vested interest to see peace in the region as a country that has sent its soldiers to help Seoul during the 1050-1953 Korean War and has suffered hundreds of martyrs. We still have war veterans of the Korean War who are a reminder of the bonds of friendship between the Turkish and Korean people.
A recent visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to South Korea showed the deep friendship that exists between the people's of the two countries. Thus anything good for the Korean people is good for us Turks.
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