After a prolonged era of hostilities between the United States and North Korea, that spanned over almost seven decades, a first ever summit meeting took place on Sentosa Island in Singapore between President Donald Trump and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un. The two leaders signed what was described a comprehensive deal in front of international camera crews. The American President was full of praise for his “very smart” North Korean counterpart, describing their “very special bond “and total shift in Washington relationship with Pyongyang.
North Korea has repeatedly threatened to attack the US, after decades of hostilities and suspicion since the 1950-53 Korean War. Trump increasingly hit back with his own rhetoric when he took office last year. The North Korean leader Kim told reporters at Capella Hotel that they have chosen to “leave the past behind.”Trump also confirmed he would invite the North’s leader to the White House.
The deal signed by the two leaders envisage the US commitment to provide security guarantees to North Korea in return for Pyongyang’s firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization. The agreement included an outline of Trump and Kim vow to establish new relations to build a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
The hostilities between the US and North Korea dates back to the Cold War era of 1950s. As a product of it Korea was split between the Soviet Union and the United states into two regions North and South. Both claimed to be the legitimate governments of all Korea and neither accepted the borders as permanent. The conflict escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces supported by the Soviet Union and China moved into South on 25th June 1950. The UN Security Council authorized the formation and dispatch of UN forces to Korea to repel what was recognized as North Korean invasion. Twenty countries of UN contributed to that force, with the United States providing 90 percent of the military personnel.
After the first two months the US and South Korean forces were on the point of defeat, and forced back to a small area in the South known as Pusan perimeter. But in September 1950, an amphibious UN forces attack was launched at Inch eon, and cut off many North Korean troops. Those who escaped envelopment and capture were forced back to North Korea. UN forces rapidly approached the Yalu River near the China border, which compelled it to formally enter the war theater. In October 1950, mass Chinese forces cross the Yalu River and took on the UN forces led by the US commander General Macarthur. The surprise Chinese intervention triggered a retreat of UN forces which continued until 1951.
After these reversals, which saw Seoul change hands of fortunes, the last two years fighting became a war of attrition. North Koreans were subjected to massive US bombing campaigns. Jet fighters confronted each other in air-to-air combat for the first time in history, and Soviet pilots flew covertly in defense of their Communist allies.
The fighting ended on 27th July 1953, when an armistice was signed. The agreement created the Korean Demilitarized Zone to separate North and South Korea and allowed the return of war prisoners. However, no peace treaty was signed and the two sides technically remained at war for the next seven decades, engaged in a frozen conflict. In April 2018, the leaders of the North and South Korea met at demilitarized zone to sign a peace treaty by the end of the year to formally end the Korean War.
North Korea started its nuclear programme in the decade of 1980s. It built its first nuclear facility in early 80s. Later, North Korea ratified Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), but pursued its ambition for building the nuclear arsenals. In 2003 North Korea walked out of NPT and admitted that it runs a Uranium enrichment programme to build nuclear weapons, a violation of the agreement framework of NPT. A diplomatic initiative was launched in October 2003 known as the six party talks, comprising North and South Korea, Japan, Russia, China and the US. But it produced no breakthrough.
In October, 2006 North Korea conducted its first underground nuclear test. However, the diplomacy for denuclearizing North Korea slowly and steadily moved on. In 2009, US President Barak Obama administration officials held their first bilateral meetings with their North Korean counterparts to revive the six party talks on the latter’s nuclear programme. However, diplomatic isolation the North Korean nuclear programme moved on to advanced stages. It conducted its sixth nuclear test. But the shrewd diplomacy of South Korea, eventually, succeeded. The South Korean security Advisor announced in March in Washington that President Trump has accepted invitation to meet the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in May. The US-North Korea summit took place in Singapore a month later and the denuclearization deal was signed. It remains to be seen as to whether the 20000 plus US troops present in South Korea shall be withdrawn or will be kept for further long period as China containment policy in the South Asia.