History is about being made. 2018 is not even halfway through and the list of record-breaking things already happening all around the globe is endless. The Trump administration had faced a lot of heat in the past. Well, to be honest, they have been facing the heat from before they were even elected. But somehow they have been working under our noses which somehow has almost always ended up in a good way. This does not mean that the write-up is going to be a so-called ‘pro-Trump’ one per say, but it will definitely highlight the result of the activities spearheaded by the Donald Trump-led government.
Apparently, on 12th June 2018, history will be made as for the first time in the timeline of the world. A United States of America President will finally meet a North Korean Leader during his term as in the Oval Office. President Donald Trump will finally meet the current North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore. Is the meeting too late? Or it at the best time possible? Many will say that it is the best tie for the two leaders to meet and put forward a step toward world peace. The POTUS claims that his mission would be to totally denuclearize North Korea and end the constant threat of a nuclear breakout to the world. As good as it sounds, it is easier said than done. The President of the United States though is steadfast and adamant about his agenda. The least that can be said about this historic meeting is that the sooner the better. Not long ago, the two Korean leaders, Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in, of North Korea and South Korea respectively, met in the demilitarized zone or the DMZ and set the record, it was the first time that a North Korean leader set foot on South Korean soil ever since the 1953 seize-fire treaty that set up the DMZ in the first place. The two leaders discussed peace and talked about a unified Korea without nuclear weapons. But why is this such a big deal? Why is any of this a big deal?
If we look at the past, North Korea’s history is kind of messed up. Let’s take a quick tour of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, shall we?
The Korean peninsula was a kingdom highly influenced by the Chinese and the Japanese cultures. It is no wonder because it simply lies between the two states. In 1910, the Korean peninsula came under the Japanese rule. But that wasn’t the only time Korea came under the influence and control of Japan. The famous Sino-Japanese war that lasted from 1894 – 1895 led to a decisive Japanese victory and thus the prominence of Japanese forces in the peninsula. The Japanese forces there forced the inland native population to adhere to slavery and prostitution. The then ruler of Korea, Emperor Joseon fled his castle in fear of being overthrown and took shelter under the Russians in Seol. This led to the Tsar’s influence in the Emperor’s decisions. This had a big effect on the policies made at that time. Russia had already started working on the expansion plans in Eastern Asia via the railroads across Siberia. As a result, tensions increased between Russia and Japan. The result? The Russo-Japanese war (1904 – 1905). The war ended with no clear victory. The treat of Portsmouth, which was initiated by POTUS Theodore Roosevelt, declared Japan as the protector of Korea. And finally, in 1910, Japan annexed Korea.
The Japanese administration, like any other overlord, forced the people of Korea to get accustomed to their culture, made them worship their gods, and even take up ethnic Japanese names. The oppression eventually caused anger and protest. It was only a matter of time until the people took to the streets and carried out demonstrations against the Japanese administration. This led to the 1st March movement, also known as the Sam-li movement. The movement holds significant importance in Korea’s history as this highlighted Korea’s first resistance against their Japanese rulers. The day is marked as a holiday in South Korea.
The movement created a ripple effect changing the Japanese policies toward the kingdom of Korea. The Japanese administration became more appreciative and more supportive of the Korean culture. The Korean people were taught to take pride in their culture and heritage. To say the least, a feeling of nationalist pride was invoked in the Korean people. However, things did not last for long. In the late 1930s, the Second World War led to increased slave labor and forced military service. This led to internal resistance in Korea. Communist ideologies were adopted from neighboring Russia and fighting groups were formed which engaged in combat with the Japanese forces. One of these communist leaders was Kim Song Ju. Later, he joined the Soviet forces in Russia for training. Once the war was over, the Axis states were on a platter for a division. But the world leaders decided that Korea be a democracy. However, in reality, the opposite happened. The upper half was taken by the USSR whereas the lower half was taken over by the USA. The United Nation ordered an election on November 1997 for Korea to be a fully functional democracy. The USSR backed out as they saw it as loss of power in the peninsula. The lower half of Korea held elections and declared Dr. Syng Man Rhee as the first South Korean President.
This is where Kim song Ju, now known as Kim Il Sung, comes into the big scene. USSR set up Kim Il Sung as the new leader of North Korea and as a communist puppet for the Soviet masters. Kim Il Sung was mostly raised in China and his speeches were edited and checked by the USSR. The Soviets, on the other hand, portrayed Kim as a guerrilla leader and promoted him as a nationalist hero.
The ideology introduced by Japan in Korea was more of a fascist nature. Therefore, you will also find people referring North Korea as the last monument for ‘fascist Japanese ideologies’. When USSR installed Kim as the new leader of North Korea, the ideology running in the Kim administration was a pure communist one. However, the standard ideology in North Korea that slowly took shape was a bit different from the common communist agenda. Where on one hand, communist ideologies in the USSR and the Republic of China represented a clean sweep of the past cultures, North Korean communism had a twist to it. Instead of eradicating the past culture, North Korean leader Kim Il Sung included the history of Korea into the present. The symbol of Kim Il Sung was a proof of this. It displayed the hammer, the cycle, and the brush all together in harmony. In 1948, Kim laid the path for the Korean People’s Army and placed his comrades from the Second World War in positions of power. This was followed by the setting up of the North Korean Federation of Literature and Art. This granted the newly formed administration full control over the nation’s cultural output.
Kim followed Stalin and Mao’s footsteps of portraying himself as a god-like figure via art and paintings. The time was perfect and Kim officially announced the birth of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Forming the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was not enough. Kim Il-sung wanted to restore Korea to it former imperial glory. This meant that he had to unify Korea first. He gathered the support of the new Chinese leader Mao Zedong and a slightly hesitant Joseph Stalin and attacked South Korea in June 1950. This led to the Korean War that lasted till 1953. The war was directly between the USA and South Korea against China, North Korea, and indirectly the Soviets. After millions of deaths, a seize-fire was signed and the war was halted. However, the war was officially not over till Friday, 27th April 2018 when the current North Korea leader, Kim Jong Un stepped over the DMZ for the first time in over half a century and shook hands with a South Korean leader. The funny part was when the South Korean leader too crossed the border and stepped into North Korea.
The important thing is that the most powerful leader in the world right now, a.k.a., Donald Trump is about the meet the North Korea leader for the first time since forever. The agenda of the meeting will be simple and straightforward. The idea behind the historic meeting will be that the United States of America will demand the denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This move will allow for the beginning of a trade route to the resource-deprived and poverty struck nation. According to the United States National Security Advisor, John Bolton, this is a must for any further talks to take place. The denuclearization may sound a little harsh. I mean, why should a country lay down its arms and lie defenseless? Well, for starters, North Korea is in more need of the USA than the reverse. As per the statistics, the total GDP of North Korea is about USD 40 billion, which is surprisingly less than any of the US states. John Bolton proceeded further and stated that the denuclearization process will be looked over by the USA to the point that the reverse is impossible. All the missile sites shall be revealed and the processing of plutonium stopped. The USA will also see that the ballistic missile issue is resolved. Only after these requirements are met that the United States will provide any aid in terms of resources, goods, and services.
The result of the meeting is yet to be seen. The confirmation from the North Korean leader is yet to come but the date is most probably set. Seeing the requirements of the USA, it seems that they are a bit too ambitious. To be honest, it seems really difficult to get all the above-mentioned things get done in just one day. However, this meeting will surely give the POTUS an opportunity to judge whether DPRK leader truly means what he says. That is why this meeting is historic as well as significant because it will set a lot of things straight. Starting from the half a century-long war between North and South Korea to the imminent ticking time bomb that is the nuclear empowered DPRK.
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