North and South Korea Summit and expectations:

Context:

The leaders of North  and South Korea will meet in the demilitarised zone between the two countries on April 27th to discuss the ‘denuclearisation’ of the Korean peninsula. The officials will also discuss the strategies to end the Korean War (1950-53) which is technically still going on.

Background:

1) A communist regime, North Korea, invaded democratic South Korea in 1950. It was a part of the ongoing Cold war between the Communist and Democratic Bloc.

2) Although ceasefire was declared, the war has not officially come to an end which is the root cause of all the problem between the two countries.

1)Kim Jong-un declared a “byungjin policy” which aims to simultaneously pursue a powerful nuclear deterrent and economic growth

2) North Korea has conducted several nuclear tests in the past months and is pursued as a threat to the world.

3) Since it is a single party communist regime, the absence of civil society has put the nuclear weapons under the control of a single ambitious person.

4) On the New Year of 2018, Mr. Kim Jong-un said he would send a North Korean delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. Since then, there have been several high-level diplomatic meetings leading to the setting up of the inter-korean summit to be held on April 27th 2018.

Agenda of the summit:

1) Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

2) Improvement of bilateral relations.

3) Formal peace settlement for the Korean War.

Issues:

2) Increasing USA’s footprint in the Korean Peninsula as South Korea and Japan are its key allies and it is looking to contain the rise of China. It has troops permanently stationed in South Korea.

3) North Korea is under the impression that nuclear weapons will act as a deterrent against any attack and give it significant negotiating power.

5) Major nuclear weapon modernisation programmes have been initiated in USA and Russia.

4) Insecurity of South Korea & Japan due to frequent missile testing of north korea has increased trust deficit among East Asian Nations.

What different countries expect from the Summit:

1)USA and Japan: Want complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement.

2)South Korea: Focused more on improving inter-Korean ties along with denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

3)China and Russia: Regional stakeholders who want to prevent a nuclear war.

Importance for China:

1)China is the largest trading partner of both North and South Korea. Around 90% of North Korea’s trade passes through China.

2)As China participated in UN sanctions against North Korea, the relationship between the two countries was further strained

3)Nuclear test site near the town of Kilju is less than 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the border with China.

4)North Korean nuclear tests have caused seismic events in Chinese border towns and cities, prompting evacuations of schools and offices, sparking fears of wind-born radiation.

5)North Korea sent a delegation to China recently as it felt it needed the backing of China before talking to USA.

6) China is using North Korea as a leverage against increasing presence of US in the Pacific Ocean.

Why is it important?

1)Though Pyongyang has announced that it is suspending further nuclear/missile tests and shutting its test site, there has been no indication that it intends to give up its nuclear arsenal.

2) This meeting is expected to clarify and urge North Korea to give up its nuclear programme.

3) Citizens of North Korea have been suffering due to the sanctions.

4) There have also been several reports of Human Rights violations in North Korea

Implications for India:

1) India has urged nuclear restraint and universal disarmament since the 1950s

2) North Korea might share its nuclear technology with Pakistan or other terrorist organisations which might be harmful for India.

Way Forward:

1) Focus on normalisation of ties between North and South Korea.

2)Recently in the Winter Olympics, athletes from both the countries appeared under the same flag in the opening ceremony.More initiatives like these need to be taken to build solidarity between the two countries.

3) The reason for nuclear expansion is insecurity and fear of USA’s presence in the korean peninsula. Chalk out the clear role of USA in the peninsula and set boundaries.

4) Alleviate the sufferings of the people due to sanctions and bring human rights issues to the forefront.

5) Mutual trust is to be established during talks and an assurance given that any country would not go back on its word with the change of leader like in the case of Iran Nuclear Deal.

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