Today, North and South Korea met for a historic conference. The two sides have reached a level of peace never before seen on the Korean Peninsula. The outcome of the discussions has been a declaration to officially end the 70-year war between the two countries. In addition to this, there has been an agreement on economic cooperation and cultural exchange. Talks have gone so far as to agree on a road and a railway between the two countries. And, most importantly, a dismantling of the Demilitarized Zone.
A new era of peace is upon the peninsula, and we should all celebrate it.
China will Support the Peace Agreement
China has never really wanted anything out of the DPRK beyond two key benefits: not having a US ally on its border, and a supply of cheap labour and resources for production. Aside from these two points, China is relatively uninterested in the internal politics of the DPRK. As long as stability is maintained in connection with their interests, China has a very hands-off policy towards them.
This unfolding peace is exactly what China wants. They get assurances of peace on the peninsula which is good for business. Nuclear hostilities and the possibility of war makes conducting trade difficult. Every sanction the US justifies placing on them China has to go along with because they’re a part of the UN. With the pretext for the sanctions over, their hope is that they can go back to doing more trade with the DPRK.
Demands that the DPRK give up their nuclear weapons were something they had to go along with. As signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, China must tow the line of preventing nuclear development as a part of the agreement. While I’m sure China does want a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, being signed on to the agreement means they have to go along with the penalties associated with weapons development.
With the denuclearization process underway, there is less of a justification for sanctions to be placed on the DPRK that China has to go along with. This increases their ability to conduct trade with their Korean neighbour. This is what China has wanted all along, just to be able to do business.
Pro-North Sentiment will Increase in the South
For the longest time, it has been illegal to praise the DPRK, literally. Complimenting the leader of the DPRK was considered a criminal act. About five years ago a man in South Korea was jailed for complimenting the Supreme Leaders haircut. No kidding, this was a thing that actually happened. Park Jung-geun, a Seoul-based photographer and free-speech activist, received a 10-month suspended prison sentence for retweeting DPRK tweets.
It has been illegal to have a pro-North Korean group while in the South. People have been arrested for being Pro-North or praising the North in general. It is also illegal to organize a communist party. That’s how heavy censorship has been. But what about now? The South’s media has been filled with compliments of the Supreme Leader and positive statements about the North’s government. It seems this has all changed, for the mainstream media at least.
I think we can expect to see a lifting of restrictions on praise for the North. As unification draws closer, I think we can expect to see a branch of the North’s ruling Worker’s Party in the South. Is it possible that the prohibition of political parties sympathetic to the North will be lifted? Taking such an act will allow more people in Southern society to speak openly positively about the North. This can only help the reputation of the DPRK by allowing dialogue in Southern society.
Both the North and the South have pledged to open their borders to each other. If they live up to this agreement, which I believe they will, pro-North people will be able to enter the South. Open borders will have to accept pro-North ideas and people.
A Moral and Political Victory for the DPRK
These events have been a tremendous victory for the DPRK over the US. What is the US to do in this situation to justify hostilities against the DPRK? The war is officially over, the Demilitarized Zone is being dismantled, and economic and cultural co-operation is being carried out. Finally, the nuclear program is in the process of being scrapped, so they say. How can the US justify sanctions against the DPRK? The ongoing legal status of the war has always been the pretext the US has used to justify hostility against the country.
If the US is really out for peace, as they falsely claim, then to keep up the charade they have to remove the sanctions against the country. The goal of the sanctions has always been to cause the DPRK to collapse. That’s what they’re really there for. The justification is that they’re there for “human rights” issues. Alleged abuses that pretty much always have no solid evidence behind them.
How will the US continue their pressure to destabilize and collapse the country? They can’t use the excuses that they’ve been using for decades. A serious peace is being built between the North and the South. The only thing they can do is try and sabotage the peace process in order to justify keeping up imperialist aggression. Such a move reflects horribly upon them. Their standing in the world would fall even more quickly and turn more countries against them.
The US can’t play hardball with the South now. These peace negotiations and conferences have been wildly popular. Moon Jae-In had a 70% approval rating before the peace process began. After it, we can safely assume it will skyrocket. The amount of public support he’ll have as a result will give him serious political leverage against US demands. If the US begins to make moves to sabotage their peace, Moon will have the political will and power to begin telling US troops to leave the country.
But will they? That remains to be seen.
It’s very likely that the Korean people will support him on it. They’ve got a real chance at a unification with the North, real peace, and they don’t want to squander it. The population of the South will turn on the US if they try to make demands that will hinder peace.
The US has lost big time here. Not only have they failed to destroy the DPRK, but there is going to be a peace and co-operation. The only way the US wanted to see this was with the destruction of the DPRK, colonized back into the South. This they will not see, the peace has already been achieved without wrecking.
Politically, the US has lost a significant amount of influence over South Korea. As a result, it has undermined much of their influence in Asia as well. The budding closeness of the North and the South actually increases the DPRK’s standing, thus makes them more friendly towards other countries on the continent. This has been win-win for the DPRK, and lose-lose for the US.
Politically, the US has to stand by while their decade’s long plans of destroying the DPRK become all for naught. Militarily the DPRK could not win, but politically they have.
How Serious are they About Denuclearization?
While there has been a great advancement towards peace, this does not mean the DPRK will leave themselves defenceless against potential military action by the US. They’re optimistic, not foolish. As long as the US continues to be an imperialist power, the DPRK will always have to watch their backs, and more importantly, continue to have a serious deterrent against invasion. The current nuclear weapons capability of the North is certainly that.
I think the real question here is: how far will the DPRK go towards denuclearization?
They would be nothing short of insane to completely abandon all of their nuclear weapons. Such an act would deprive them of the deterrent they have so desperately needed. So I don’t think they’re going to do that. I think it’s far more likely that they will abandon any further nuclear weapons projects. They’ve already committed to demolishing their testing site and further research. I don’t think they’ll build any more weapons, but they will keep the ones they have. There is no trusting the US government, they cannot be held to their word.
Iraq, Libya, and Syria have all bowed to US demands to avoid invasion and/or bombings. Every one of these countries has been betrayed. The US has not lived up to their promises and has destroyed them to some degree or another. The DPRK has no doubt witnessed these events and learned from them.
While there have been great advances towards peace, the DPRK will not leave themselves defenceless against imperialist invasion.