When the Trump-Kim summit started back in 2018, people were generally of the assumption that things are going in the right direction. And considering the development that came afterward in the following year, things were really getting better. But there has been quite some time since any major development has happened, which makes people wonder if that development has gone down the drain or not. We will be looking into how the severing of the United States’ relations with North Korea started, and what caused the two countries to have such a huge fallout.
People generally have the assumption that North Korea and the United States of America drew apart after the North cozied up with the USSR after the second world war. Though that did intensify the situation, the zero points of the story do not begin from over there. The United States’ was long hated by the Koreans even before the beginning of the second world war, where they thought of the Americans as the forces of the west trying to loot them Koreans. Keep in mind, this is a time when both the North and South were united. Back then, the Koreans did not even deem it appropriate to have a conversation with the U.S representatives and therefore killed them when they approached their land. Further details of these incidents could be known by reading about General Sherman, and the Shinmiyangyo, which refers to the American retaliation of killing it, soldiers. It also marks the first military involvement of the United States in the Korean peninsula.
Later on, when the US accepted Japan’s influence followed by its conquest of the Korean lands, where the Americans also refused the Koreans’ desperate plea for help, the mentality of the people living over there had generally turned against the United States. Though the Korean peninsula got split up after the second world war, the people in the North always deemed the Americans as being a Japan-like state that based its policies on imperialism and domination.
Speaking of the breaking apart of the Korean peninsula, that proved to be a turning point in the North Korean foreign relations. Where North Korea submitted entirely to the USSR and the communist theories, who were directly faced to face with the concept of capitalism and liberty propagated by the United States. Though the 38th parallel through which the Korean peninsula had been divided was supposed to be a limited time thing, it never got resolved due to the drifting away of the USSR and the US. Therefore, when Kim Il-sung declared the formation of this newly formed country, the Democratic Republic of North Korea, the Americans never accepted it as legitimate. Even today, the United States government deems the Republic of Korea – South Korea to be the only legitimate government of the entire region. Whereas the USSR was very quick to accept the country’s existing, which was an obvious thing to do considering the nation happened to be its ally in communist ideology.
You might think that all of the superlative terms that we have been using until now would mean that things couldn’t get any worse but as a matter of fact, the Korean war erupted in the 1950s where the United State’s troops battled the North Korean forces right on the Korean peninsula. This war could be considered as the most deadly encounter between the two nations. It not only took the lives of several of its people, but it also resulted in the tensions to escalate further.
But as the years passed by, the American establishment understood that the proper way to deal with North Korea was not by force, but by dialogue. Despite calling the North Korean government names like the “Axis of Evil”, they always resorted to dialogue first. As explained by the Brookings Institution, a common misconception amongst the people is that it was President Bill Clinton who had initiated the dialogue process, while factually speaking, President Reagan had already put in place many measures that had initiated a peaceful dialogue process long before him. At least one could say that both the Republican and Democratic administrations of the United States were of the view that the only way out of it was dialogue.
Since then, the single most major concern of the United States regarding the North Korean government has been its Nuclear program, as explained by the Brookings Institution. North Korea does not shy off gloating about their nuclear capabilities, and thus they have performed six nuclear tests up until now, with the first one dating back to 2003. Even Bill Clinton who is thought to have brought both of the nations very close had considered going to war with North Korea over there Nuclear program, as found in the administration’s leaked documents. In addition to North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, The United States fears the North’s hostility towards it, where North Korea has been developing long-range ballistic missiles to attack the United States whenever it deems necessary.
President Trump has surprisingly brought much betterment in the relationship between the two countries, despite having a bad start with the incidents of 2017. Both of the leaders have been engaging each other in summits and dialogues since 2018. And back in 2019, President Trump happened to be the first-ever American President to enter North Korea.
He has also encouraged his officials to keep the North Korean administration engaged, which might turn out to be a ray of hope for many.
Despite the recent developments, in conclusion, one cannot deny that there is much more needed for things to get normal. The United State’s matters are still dealt with by the Swedish government’s officials in North Korea, which means that there remains an opening for a proper channel for diplomacy. The United States has also not been saintly, and the comparatively recent attack on the North Korean embassy in Spain by CIA officials happens to be just a mere example of that. Therefore, there is a lot of more effort required for things to fully normalize between the two nations.