It’s been reported that U.S. President Donald Trump will e33make a visit to the Korean Demilitarized Zone on his trip to South Korea between June 29 and 30. As his visit to the DMZ was canceled due to weather conditions when he came to Korea in November 2017, it is likely that the plan will be materialized. The Washington Post speculated that President Trump may join North Korean leader Kim Jong Un around the inter-Korean borders. In response, South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said it had no idea.
Expectations have only risen about the resumption of the U.S.-North Korea denuclearization dialogue since Pyongyang released a letter written by President Trump. Expressing his content with the letter, he said he will take a deep look at an interesting part in it. Regarding the North’s response, U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo expected that there is a high likelihood for talks with the North, saying that Washington always remain ready to get going. It seems clear that a breakthrough will be made for the stalled front before President Trump visits Seoul.
The South Korean government has awaited North Korea’s response being open to a possible inter-Korean summit talk before Trump’s visit to Seoul. It seems relevant that it decided to send rice to the North last week. If things go as wished, South Korean President Moon Jae-in would meet up with Kim and specify the way to denuclearization in discussion with President Trump who would join Chinese President Xi Jinping and hear about his visit to Pyongyang at the upcoming G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. Added to it, Cheong Wa Dae may be picturing a surprise occasion at the DMZ.
Two years ago when President Trump addressed the South Korean National Assembly, he criticized North Korea for dictatorship and violations of human rights, warning it not to belittle or test Washington’s patience. To be sure, things were different then when tensions around the Korean Peninsula was heightened due to North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations. However, any significant difference has not been made to the status quo. Not any further step toward denuclearization has been taken. Kim has shown none of sings of change in his attitude. Rather than that, he seems ever more confident thanks to Xi’s visit to Pyongyang than before.
President Trump’s visit to the DMZ and his message to North Korea may ignite a meaningful change. At the same time, it is important to show a series of diplomatic efforts made behind the scenes in the form of a well-planned occasion. However, it will only be left in vanity without any practical progress. Rather than staging dramatic scenes, it takes practical dialogue between Washington and Seoul and furthermore working-level negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang to increase chances of diplomatic success.