North Korea kept its promise to dismantle its nuclear facilities but still the US refused to lift the economic sanctions.
What was worse was that Washington did not allow Seoul to engage in normal trade with Pyongyang within the Korean Peninsula.
It is so silly and illogical that when the two Koreas want to enjoy the mutual benefits brought forth by exchanges of basic necessities between themselves, they are not allowed to do so by the Americans.
When you are not allowed to socialize, say, having an ordinary meal at home, with your brother and sister by your so-called boss, how do you feel?
President Trump might want to make deal, but the Deep State in the US said no. So, it irritated Pyongyang, and certainly, Seoul as well. Therefore, they jointly performed a show.
Knowing that the two Koreas are practically impossible to have meaningful direct exchanges anymore under the US supervision over Seoul, Pyongyang used the defectors’ leaflets, or the long time routine ‘Balloon propaganda campaign’, as an excuse to cut off the inter-Korean communication lines with Seoul (CBS News June 9) and even demolish the liaison office building (BBC June 16) in June.
While most analysts are worried that the tension would escalate to a dangerous level between the two Koreas, the real effect of the show is to give wider space and more flexibility for Seoul to take actions to produce constructive results with Beijing.
A report from the Brookings Institution published in early July 2020 does have an insight into this. Its executive summary highlights that:
China sees South Korea as a critical part of its effort to establish its preeminence in Northeast Asia. South Korea’s status in the U.S. alliance architecture as the “linchpin” and its central role regarding North Korea issues, as well as its geographic proximity and economic dynamism, have underscored the country’s importance to China’s regional strategy.
This strategy is driven by a desire to weaken Washington’s alliance relationships, increase Beijing’s influence on Korean Peninsula affairs, including North Korea denuclearization, and shape the region to be more amenable to supporting its preferences. Beijing perceives Seoul as the weakest link in the U.S. alliance network, given its perception of South Korea’s deference and history of accommodating China’s rise relative to other regional players, such as Japan, which considers China a long-term security threat.
The most insightful point in this paragraph is to tell us that Seoul is “the weakest link in the U.S. alliance network”.
The last sentence of this executive summary is:
“Beijing might seek to cajole and coerce Seoul to defer to China’s interests amid the intensification of U.S.-China strategic competition.”
While the wording carries the bias in favor of the US, the untold truth is that Seoul is more than happy to get rid of the annoying influence from Washington. The Beijing-Seoul relationship will enter into a new stage soon, and more importantly allow China to make a fundamental change to the geopolitics in East Asia.
The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.