Thoughts on US-North Korea relations
Over a Cup of Tea
Heidi M. Pascual
Publisher & Editor
2006 Journalist of the year
for the State of Wisconsin
The major issue we are facing is the nuclear capability of North Korea, and how much it is willing to give up in order to help create better relations
with the US and the global community as a whole. We in Southeast Asia have been fearing North Korea’s nuclear power, particularly during its
missile ballistic tests. Southeast Asian countries fear extinction if and when North Korea and the US go to war. Thus, the current seeming
willingness of North Korea to negotiate, via Trump’s diplomatic strategy, is actually allaying such fear and building hope that a diplomatic solution
is close at hand.
With the very recent friendly meeting between US President Trump and North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong Un at
the Korean Demilitarized Zone, optimism and positive thoughts naturally entered my mind. I would admit that the
“meeting” of the two leaders, no matter how short, was historic, regardless of any opposing remarks from anyone
else. No US President has ever set foot on the Korean Demilitarized Zone, much less shake hands with a North
Korean leader, so I give Trump that credit, regardless of foreign policy agreements (or disagreements) that may
result from such a historic moment.

I believe that such meeting is an opening door for more serious talks on various levels of government to resolve
decades-long issues on global security, human rights, and other pertinent issues. Of course, results of such
serious discussions are another matter. For now, however, I would like to believe that good thinking foreign policy
advisers as well as citizens’ feedback could give the U.S. a positive position in its negotiations with North Korea.
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To my mind, the 1994 Agreed Framework didn’t
seem to have accomplished anything, but more
hatred and accusations of violations. However,
the 2019 Hanoi Summit (though without any
concrete positive progress) and thereafter,
following Trump’s friendly approach to Kim Jong
Un, seem to open a friendly door that seemed
remotely possible before. Added to this is the
fact that Seoul is open to a friendly negotiation
as well, and support seems to also come from
China and Japan (to a lesser degree).

I guess what is important right now is to take
advantage of this diplomatic moment and forge
an agreement with North Korea that would keep
both countries’ self-esteem and self-respect.
Pride is, most times, the killjoy when we talk
about mending relationships. It seems Trump
has decided to create a name for himself in
history, and I won’t criticize him for this one,
because indeed, if Trump succeeds in building
positive US-North Korea relations with both
nations “victorious” in  important ways without
sacrificing any US interest, then he deserves the
honor in history.

Regardless of our problem about Trump’s
“inefficient” and “ineffective” actions on various
issues since he occupied the Oval Office, how
he deals with North Korea right now is meeting
silence from the opposite side of the aisle in
Washington as well as GOP hawks because the
American people surely prefer diplomacy over

We all do, and I pray that this route succeed and
result in a genuine and lasting peace of mind for
all concerned.