Toshio Masuda

Toshio Matsuda, Commentator & Intl Economist

Straight from the Shoulder

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(This issue is submitted to a Washington D.C., Seattle, and Zurich think-tank as the English edition of “Straight from Shoulder”.)

"Straight from the shoulder " by Toshio Masuda May 15, 2018
( Free of charge to the people I met)
Japan-China-South Korea Summit a "Get-Together of Fellow Sufferers of the Same Disease!"

The withdrawal of U.S. forces that will result from the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is something that North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia, and, in his gut (really), even Trump want. And because it will lead directly to the imminent departure of U.S. forces in Japan, only Japan (Abe) will not want it. As Kim Jong Un said, "Abe is about to become Asia's orphan himself," and the fact is, Japan is walking a path towards isolation. China fears that the conclusion of the war between North and South Korea, establishment of a system of peace, and denuclearization of the Korean peninsula will be led by the U.S. and North Korea, with China excluded, while South Korea will simply end up eating out of the hands of the U.S. and North Korea. The Japan-China-South Korea summit was an attempt by those afflicted with the same illness to show strength in unity to the U.S. and North Korea (Trump and Kim Jong Un). At the talks between China and North Korea (Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un) held at the end of March, there were appeals for stronger ties between China and North Korea. Moreover, Xinhua News announced an agreement to resume six-party talks under China's initiative. Despite those facts, pronouncements were made at the North-South summit held on April 27 to the effect that in order to build a framework for permanent peace between the North and South through replacement of the 65-year-old ceasefire agreement between the North and South with a peace treaty, "three-way talks among North and South Korea and the United States, or possibly four-way talks among the North and South Korea, China, and the United States, would be needed." China was outraged that Chinese involvement was portrayed as secondary in the North-South summit, and in early May, it dispatched Foreign Minister Wang Yi to North Korea to get Kim Jong Un to put a end to the "China out" approach. In addition, he invited Kim Jong Un to the submarine launching ceremony for a Chinese made submarine held in Dalian on the day prior to the Japan-China-South Korea summit (May 9), and tried to make a showing of Chinese-North Korean unity out of the fact that two
summits were being held since March. Meanwhile, with regards to the U.S. and North Korea, Secretary of State Pompeo visited North Korea on that same day, where he met with Kim Jong Un, and a location for talks between the U.S. and North Korea was decided upon (Singapore). Moreover, Kim Jong Un released three Korean-Americans, and appeals were made for strong ties between the U.S. and North Korea.
The fact that North Korea has become able to carry out nuclear-armed ICBM strikes on the U.S. mainland and now possesses a nuclear deterrent against the U.S., and can enter into dialogue with the U.S. on an equal basis is all thanks to China, on which it depends for 80% of its economy. North Korea's exclusion of China from the path to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula harkens back to the founding of the republic (Kim Il Sung). In January 1984, a resolution was made at a joint meeting of the Central People's Committee and the Supreme People's Standing Committee to transition towards a peaceful regime through three countries-North and South Korea, and the United States. And on the grounds that China had recognized South Korea as an "enemy," Chinese representatives were kicked out of the Panmunjom Military Armistice Commission in 1994. In a joint statement made at the 1996 (Jeju) talks between U.S. President Clinton and South Korean President Kim Young-sam, it was proposed to North Korea that the approach for establishing a system of peace should be a switch from three parties (North Korea, South Korea, United States) to four parties (North Korea, South Korea, United States, China), but at the second inter-Korean summit meeting in 2007, the tripartite system was emphasized, and the four-party approach was painted as secondary.
The approach for achieving peace between the North and South in the recent North-South Summit Meeting of April 27 followed the 2007 approach.
So why is the road to North-South peace adopted by North Korea one that consistently excludes China?
In words, Kim Jong Un is, like Trump, highly emotional, but his actual political decision-making is-also much like Trump-very much based on political dynamics. The development of China, which has now surpassed the United States as the world's superpower, owes much to Deng Xiaoping's policy of Chinese economic reform, but is also built on the system whereby the renminbi is pegged to the dollar (piggybacking on the United
States). The Kim family of successive North Korean leaders has believed that North Korea's economic development and reform can only be realized by relying on the United States, just as was the case with China, and that is in fact the case.
Just as Saudi Arabia is a major crude oil nation, North Korea is major uranium power. And just like the Saudi Arabian King, the person who is going to give Kim Jong Un a ride in a golden Tesla (and not just a Cadillac) is not Xi Jinping but Trump. Trump will take the (Chinese-led) four-party approach until the military withdraws from Asia (U.S. forces in Korea and Japan) and revert to the three-party approach after the forces withdraw.

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