Whether or not the proposed meeting between the US President Donald Trump and the North Korean President eventually takes place is beside the point. The world will keep its fingers firmly crossed, given the highly temperamental nature of the two leaders. But the mere fact that the two propose to meet has helped bring down the tensions in the nuclear-charged global atmosphere. Only weeks ago, Trump was firing tweets, threatening to wipe off North Korea from the face of the earth. He ranted against the North Korean dictator, calling him the little rocket man.
In retaliation, Kim called Trump a dolt and other pejorative names, and warned that he was ready with his nuclear-tipped missiles which could hit several American cities. The world was reminded yet again of the Cold War and a nuclear armageddon. In the interregnum, tempers seemed to have cooled down, with the seasoned Trump advisers successfully persuading him not to up the ante against a rogue leader ready to risk self-annihilation while fortifying himself with the self-protective nuclear arsenal. Kim was persuaded by the deadly end of Saddam Husseinand Muammar Gaddafi, the two dictators who abandoned their respective nuclear projects only to be killed by the US forces.
His nuclear missiles are supposed to be a shield against his meeting the fate of a Saddam Hussein. Therefore, as and when the Trump-Kim meeting takes place, and there still is a big if on such an unlikely event taking place, Kim is unlikely to give up his nuclear arsenal. Lifting economic sanctions, which are beginning to hurt the common North Koreans, without neutralising his nuclear threat can only mean surrender to Kim. Therefore, a viable solution to the North Korean riddle is hard to guess. The Trump-KIm meeting quite clearly has resulted from the intense backroom diplomacy between the two Koreas occasioned by the recent winter Olympics in South Korea.
Moon Jae-in, the South Korean President, has been pressing for a dialogue with the North for a long time. His efforts have borne fruit. But he cannot change the fundamentals of a nuclear North Korea bent on retaining its arsenal while seeking an end to its pariah status in the global community and a Trump-led America determined to extinguish the potential nuclear threat from Kim by insisting on it abandoning its nuclear programme. The world does not trust Trump, not after he has threatened to abrogate the Iran nuclear deal and reneged on several others signed by his predecessors. In short, hold your horses yet on an early breakthrough on the North Korean question.