Doing his best to split the U.S.-South Korean alliance, North Korean President Kim Jong-Un sent his younger sister Kim Yo-jong with a peace overture, inviting South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang for a summit. South Korea knows the Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea’s [DPRK] track record on human rights and the economy. Ranked the same as a below-par sub-Saharan Africa country, the Kim dynasty has turned the DPRK into a plague, starvation-infested train-wreck, unable to feed its own population. With borders hermetically sealed, Moon understands the North’s widespread poverty, despite putting capital into its nukes and ballistic missiles. Kim’s latest peace overture hopes to preempt a U.S. military strike sometimes after the Pyeongchang games end Feb. 28. Whether or not Moon goes to Pyongyang is anyone’s guess, unable to trust the North Korean dictator.
Kim told South Korea Jan. 8 at peace talks in the Demilitarized Zone [DMZ] aimed at permitting North Korea to participate in the Feb. 8 to Feb. 28 Pyeongchang Winter Games that the DPRK seeks peace. Yet North Korea’s delegates refused to talk about disarming its nukes and ballistic missile program. U.S. President Donald Trump has put the Kim on notice that he will not tolerate a nuclear-armed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Once the Olympic cauldron goes out Feb. 28, Kim’s regime will have to either give up it nuke and ballistic missiles or face the real fireworks of the U.S. military. Kim’s peace overture at the Pyeonchang Games was clearly a way to drive a wedge between the U.S. and South Korea. While Moon wants peace, he’s in no position to let Kim keep his nukes and ICBM programs. U.S. Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis cautioned against reading too much into Kim’s overture.
Traveling to a NATO defense Ministers’ conference in Brussels, Defense Mattis doubted that Kim’s overture would end decades of South Korean support from the U.S. Moon, while wanting peace, knows that without the 30,000 U.S. troops on DMZ, South Korea woould have easily been invaded by the North over the last 65 years since the Korean War ended July 27, 19153. Yet without any U.S. or South Korean troop crossing the DMZ beyond the 38th parallel since 1953, Kim says he needs nukes and ICBMs to repel a U.S. invasion. Kim has defied numerous U.N. Security resolutions asking him to disarm his nukes and ballistic missile arsenal. Telling the EU and South Korea not to worry, the DPRK said they have nothing worry about, leaving the U.S. to clean up the mess. Mattis doesn’t believe Kim’s peace overture changes anything other that making a big publicity stunt.
Moon isn’t likely to visit Pyeongchang unless Kim agrees to give up his nukes and ballistic missiles. “If using the Olympics in a way to reduce tension—if that’s going to have any traction once the Olympics are over. We can’t say right now,” said Mattis, not buying Kim’s peace overture. U.S. and foreign media have called Kim’s gesture a breakthrough in diplomacy, avoiding the obvious manipulation to split the alliance between the U.S. and South Korea. “I don’t know it it’s a sign,” said Mattis, referring to the invitation to have Moon visit Pyongyang. “That a very strange time it, in fact, he’s trying to show a warning to the country that he has attacked repeatedly as an American puppet.” Traveling to Brussels to defense conference, Mattis knows Kim’s overture hoped to avoid a U.S. military action. Few in South Korea belief that Kim’s sincere in du-nuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
. Mattis got reassurance from South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo in January that there’s nothing Kim could do to drive a wedge between the U.S. and South Korea. “There is no wedge that can be driven between us by North Korea, Song told Mattis. Despite Kim not testing a new nuke since Sept. 3, 2017 or shooting off a ballistic missile since Nov. 28, 2017, he’s made clear that his nuke and ballistic missile program is not subject to negotiation. Kim’s insistence on keeping his nukes and ballistic missile prompted Trump to warn the regime on repeated occasions that the U.S. will act to protect its national security. Russia and China have cautioned the U.S. to avoid any military action that could lead to war on the Korean Peninsula. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the U.S. wouldn’t attack Pyeongchang because it’s a nuclear power, something refuted by Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Instead of hyping Kim’s fake peace offer to South Korea, the press should recognize the extreme risks in 2018 of a military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula. Without Kim disarming his nukes and ballistic missiles, Moon won’t travel to Pyongyang anytime soon. Kim’s peace overture aims at grandstanding on the world stage, now that the Pyeongchang games have begun. Kim faces some tough choices after the Winter Games, either start the disarmament process or face the wrath of the U.S. military. China and Russia have done everything short of a total oil embargo on North Korea to prevent possible U.S. military strike. While still allied with Russia and China, there’s little either country can do to stop the U.S. from neutralizing Kim’s nukes and ballistic missile program. Mattis called Kim’s bluff, doubting that a phony peace- offering to Moon changes anything.