Everyone has agendas; we as individuals have agendas and most likely our actions and decisions are based on it. When individuals follow on their agendas then other people in general are not affected but when an organisation or a company follows up on its agenda then certainly larger group of people are affected by it; that includes its employees, shareholders and clients. Similarly when a state or city follows upon its agenda then not only the residents are affected but also whoever is in that geographical area.
When a country follows up on its agenda the stakes are even higher as it not only involves everyone in the country but other countries who interact with it and the neighbouring countries.
Therefore you need to understand a county’s decision that it takes and policies it pursues stem from those agendas domestically and internationally.
But sometimes there are hidden agendas and things can get complicated for the smaller countries or those that rely on another country for economic or military assistance. This can put a country in precarious situation that relies on another country and they might have a hidden agenda and it will only come to know once that agenda has achieved it’s purpose but it might be too late for any corrective course of action at that time.
South Korea is in a similar precarious situation due to the ongoing confrontation with North Korea that spans over many decades but has reached a new high due to North’s Nuclear and other missiles tests. The stakes for South Korea are much higher because the other two main countries involved in this issue is China and U.S; former being a trade partner and the later not only a trade partner but an ally. It was the U.S that helped reached the Korean Armistice Agreement in 1953 between The North and The South.
The tension is on the rise with North Korea as it recently tested an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). But after the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system here by the U.S, relations with China are strained too which is not good as it is only country that that has some influence over North Korea because of its diplomatic and economic relations.
South Korean government needs to get practical and chose the right course of action that does not lead to war and not adhered by China or U.S foreign policy.
One needs to understand that China and U.S both has open & hidden but different agendas namely for South Korea and North Korea as I will elaborate this through how their agendas through recent events has been laid bare.
Lets look at the Chinese agenda here first:
There has been strong backlash from China over the deployment of THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) in the form of Chinese tourist and some businesses cancelling their trip to Seoul, media and K-pop censorship in China and so on. Before THAAD’s deployment North Korea was testing its missiles from time to time but there was not much condemnation from China but as soon as THAAD was deployed here China not only made its displeasure to South Korea but it started to condemn North’s missile tests in much stronger words.
Lets look at the U.S agenda:
The U.S also rushed with the deployment of THAAD in South Korea while there was political instability due to the impeachment of the then President Park Guen Hye and without having to go through the National Assembly for debate over its deployment. The U.S was more concerned with its deployment as to protect its bases in Hawaii and Guam, which are under direct threat from North Korea’s missiles (ICBM).
This clearly demonstrates that both China and U.S has its own agendas and the both did not take into account the interest of the people here and what impact it would be on the economy and people as of their respective decisions and actions.
Remember agendas change because people make agendas and people change often. This can either be a good thing or bad depending who benefits and who loses.
To further elaborate my point of view I would like to take you back a few months into the U.S presidential race of 2016.
President Donald Trump during his presidential campaign called China a currency manipulator and talked about reducing the trade deficit. He further added that he would declare China a currency manipulator if he becomes President.
But after becoming president he has changed his stance and recently singing praise for the Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both leaders agreed to forge stronger ties and Mr. Trump wants his Chinese counterpart to counter the North Korean threat.
Mr. Trump and his administration seems to be working more closely with the Chinese and has said repeatedly than if China is unable to help in this matter then they are willing to take unilateral military action against North Korea if have to.
In this whole process it seems that the South Korean government has been either by-passed or interest of the people here not taken into account.
On the one hand Mr. Trump wants to tackle the North Korean threat whatever it takes and THAAD’s deployment being the first step in this regard. But on the other hand Trump wants to renegotiate or terminate the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, known as Korus; which was negotiated and signed during the George W. Bush administration. South Korea is the United States’ sixth-largest goods trading partner.
Mr. Trump in April 2017 in the oval office said, “We’ve told them that we’ll either terminate or negotiate.” Then he went on to say, “We may terminate.” The president said that the process of termination of Korus is simpler than with the North American Free Trade Agreement. He added, “With NAFTA, we terminate tomorrow; if we did, it ends in six months”.
He further went on to say, “With the Korean deal, we terminate and it’s over,” “I will do that unless we make a fair deal. We’re getting destroyed in Korea.”
He has further gone on to say that South Korea should pay more to protect its people and also pay USD 1 Billion for the deployment of THAAD.
This should be a clear eye opener for the South Korean government and the people here.
There are two things here that South Korean government and people need to realize that the U.S and China has its own agendas that vary as per their own interests from time to time. China here can and has used North issue to its own advantage and we can clearly see as U.S seeking help for China in this matter. It is high time that the newly elected government should clearly dictate the terms to the U.S and China that they should be part of whatever China and U.S are working to counter the North behind closed doors.
The other most important aspect is that attacking North Korea is a not a good idea even to think of it so; because war will have devastating consequences on the Korean Peninsula not just North Korea. As this conflict has the ability to engulf other countries in its fire. South Koreans need to clearly be aware that this war will have more devastating consequences than the previous one and decades of progress and development will not only be in ashes but the loss of life will be tremendous.
The new South Korean president is willing to work with North Korea through dialogue and even take the issue of THAAD’s deployment to National Assembly for debate, which actually might help to thaw the relations with China. He is expected to visit Washington end of June this year and meet Mr. Trump. But before that Seoul government needs to make it clear to Mr. Trump and his administration that at any cost they don’t want war and do not provoke North Korea to such an extent that they take some harsh action as at that point the U.S will resort to military action by saying it is inevitable now.
History has shown us that war isn’t and never will be the solution to the problems it intends to solve. It is evident from recent conflicts around the world as for instance Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and many more that even with all the U.S military’s might along with the support of the UN and other nations it’s hard to control the flames of war and it has done more harm than good not only those countries but others too.
The South Korean government should not only rely or look towards China and U.S to resolve this on going threat from the North but also should use and explore all diplomatic channels and resources for the peaceful resolution of this issue.
The government is already seeking help and support from Russia and The Pope to intervene and resolve the conflict.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has expressed his willingness to resolve and reduce the tension between the two countries. Recently talking to a special envoy from South Korea sent to Moscow by Moon Jae In; the Russian president said, “The North Korean nuclear issue could never be resolved through war, that’s impossible.”
Putin further added, “The problem should be solved through dialogue because using sanctions alone has limitations and it could also work against North Korean people and incur humanitarian issue.”
Putin also emphasized the need to restart the six party talks. I think it’s a good idea and will help bring other countries (namely South Korea, North Korea, China, U.S, Russia & Japan) to the table; where they can concentrate the issue in hand and most importantly be on the same page as how to resolve the issue rather than working against each other or in the direction that takes the Korean Peninsula to destruction and no one wants war but peaceful resolution of the issue.
I am sure not only the countries directly involved in this rising issue but also other concerned countries will give more chance to dialogue and peace than to military intervention.
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