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Was The Trump-Kim Meet Historic For All The Wrong Reasons?

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Last week, the international media highlighted ‘a historic meet’ in their news headlines. The US President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12, 2018, in Singapore, in the first summit meeting between the leaders of the two countries. Just six months after trading threats about their respective ‘nuclear buttons’, the meeting was perhaps justly hailed as a historic one.

However, the US policy has always been to avoid bilateral talks with North Korea, and set up a regional solution that would include China and Japan. For most of the time, North Korea has largely disagreed with this approach. So, it can be said that Kim Jong-un considered Trump to be a ‘Rube’ at a carnival show. Since Trump isn’t exactly politically mature, this may not have been difficult. In the meantime, the people around the world were glued to this meeting as though something good would come out of it.

The talks between the US and North Korea should get importance only if they continue to significantly emphasise on reducing the threat of wars (proxy wars in particular) around the world. In this regard, the attitude and perceptions of these nations towards the challenging the threat of war are barely observable.

In the meeting between Trump and Kim, they signed a joint statement, which, in my opinion, was a polite diplomatic platitude but was otherwise largely empty. The major foci of the joint statement were:

1. Trump assured that the US will suspend its joint militancy exercise with South Korea as a means to reduce the tensions between the Korean nations.

2. On the other hand, Kim promised that North Korea will reduce the number of nuclear weapons and disarm the existing ones. In my view, such a promise is easy to make but hard to act on.

But look at the way the media hyped the Trump-Kim meet as a historic one! However, I didn’t find anything historic about the meet that will lead to an end to these clashes and the establishment of world peace. I personally find it more likely that Kim will merely use the photographs in future, instead of the dialogue he had with Trump.

Neither is there anything new about the promises he made with US president. Before the meet too, he had made promises of bringing an end to the nation’s nuclear power by disarming their weapons. However, one would do well to remember that in the political arena, promises are often kept and then broken. In effect, the US is just giving the North Korean state an opportunity to become more power-worthy, rather than enabling the people there to make their own choices and exercise some freedom. Only Kim benefited from this meet. I fervently hope that the handshake between the two leaders does not turn out to be indicative of a new threat and the changing status quo of war.

In the public’s eye, the significance of the meeting lay in bringing the world demonstrably closer to resolving the North Korean crisis. But I’m pretty sure that this won’t happen. If nothing else, the meeting, for me, has brought forth the negative message that you can develop nuclear power, weapons and missiles – and even then, you can meet with the US over the table. This perhaps explains why the US was kinda soft-spoken – where Trump deliberately showed keen interest in fulfilling Kim’s interests. However, if we look at Kim’s human rights records, then it is quite evident that he is one of the world’s worst offenders. Trump failed to bring this up. Neither did he appeal to Kim to turn a new leaf and change the atmosphere of fear and oppression within the nation.

I would just like to mention that Trump and Kim’s meeting will obviously in the international headlines for some time. But I don’t think that the meeting fulfilled the hope and aspirations of all the peace-loving people in the world. From an American perspective, the US foreign policy will probably go loose on North Korea. This view gains further credence when one considers the fact that the US administration mostly makes bold remarks – something that was not seen in this meeting. On the other hand, I believe that the US may give a lot to North Korea, but they’ll probably get little back in return. After all, it barely costs the US anything to make these concessions.

The meeting has brought another threats for a nation like South Korea and other opponents of North Korea. I am pretty sure that Kim will try to set himself up as the supremo in the region. His meeting with Trump will only increase his arrogance in his nature which will be very detrimental to the purposes of world peace. The promise to bring back US troops from South Korea may also lead to the very serious threat of being attacked by North Korea.

From an Indian perspective, the meeting will also not bring any good results. Closer relations between North Korea and the US should be a matter of worry for India. Furthermore, just after the meeting, China welcomed the meet as though it was a part of the same squad, and also called the event a historic one. And we well know how poor a hold India has on the politics in East Asia.

Going by political ideologies, North Korea is quite close to the China – and if the both the nations come together and set good relations with the US, then India definitely needs to worry. In the whole setup, India has good ties with South Korea (for commercial purposes) and not North Korea per se. I fervently hope that India can figure out its national interest and chalk out a strong foreign policy for the Korean nations – one that doesn’t further add to or complicate the conflict any further.

Therefore, the meeting was only beneficial to Kim-Jung-un – to promote himself as being more power-worthy and dictatorial. In the meantime, North Korea’s people are still awaiting opportunities for a better livelihood and a chance to exercise their basic human rights.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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