US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Beijing today to stake out a Chinese role for the historic Kim Jong
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Beijing today to stake out a Chinese role for the historic Kim Jong Un-Donald Trump joint statement signed on Tuesday.
Pompeo first visited Seoul to update his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on the Kim-Trump agreement.
The joint statement would have been applauded in Beijing. A non-nuclear Pyongyang strengthens the prospect of the US’ recognising the Hermit Kingdom. However, Trump went further by suggesting the eventual withdrawal of US troops from the Korean peninsula as well as the end of the US-South Korea war games.
However, Washington will likely insist China play a major role in North Korea’s follow-through on denuclearisation. Pyongyang would want guarantees of regime survival, and Beijing could promise this by bringing its ally under China’s nuclear umbrella. Beyond that, Trump’s surprise announcement on cancelling US-South Korean joint military drills and his previous shifting stances on US forces remaining in Korea may embolden the Asian allies to insist on a partial or complete US withdrawal from the peninsula. At the very least, Beijing is likely to advise Washington that US concessions must be on the table for follow-through to work where previous efforts have failed.
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