Korean Summit on April 27: North Korea crisis explained
The summit talks between North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in that will be held in the South Korean territory of the historic border town of Panmunjeom on Friday, April 27, will be one of the greatest of the 21st century.
The latest series of a diplomatic opening between North Korea and the international community has been significant because it has lightened the mood after the top leaders of North Korea and the United States looked determined to take things to a point of no return.
But why is North Korea in news so much? Why the North Korean crisis is deemed potentially devastating by the international community and a number of states have heaved a sigh of relief by seeing Kim reconciling?
Here is an explainer of the North Korean crisis:
North Korea's quest for N-weapons
The problem has its genesis in North Korea's boundless quest for procuring the nuclear weapons. The communist North Korea, which was always a closed society and had little friends in the international community, harboured its enmity with the surrounding countries including South Korea and Japan backed by the United States.
Ideological enmity, isolation made North defiant
While ideological enmity has been one reason, North Korea's loneliness also made it convinced that it needed military power to survive in the power-dominated international community.
Its growing distance with China, its only friend in the region, in the recent times over its reckless nuclear weapons also made Pyongyang more defiant in possessing the devastating weapons as a deterrent against its enemies.
North's N-experiments more about noise than actual action
North Korea has been steadily testing nuclear weapons and even claimed for testing a hydrogen bomb which is though unverified. It is also believed to possess a ballistic missile which is capable of striking the US.
There were however little prospects of North Korea actually hitting anybody with nuclear weapons for it knows that a retaliation, more massive than its strike, would wipe it out in no time. North Korea requires the nuclear arms for its own survival and not destruction. It would only blow hot with the weapons rather than actually using it.
Use of weapons against North also not feasible
North's foes also would not use any nuclear weapons to defeat Kim even if they are far more powerful for it would lead to a North's retaliation and hence a catastrophe - resulting in deaths of an endless number of human beings and harm to the atmosphere. Nobody really wants to owe responsibility of a war crime. The West hence has opted for harsher economic sanctions on North Korea which China has also supported.
The West has thus applied sanctions to corner North Korea
The sanctions have crippled North Korea's economy as insiders said the Kim regime is not far from a collapse since its money reserve was at a precarious stage. The North Korean leadership has understood well that only nuclear capability cannot ensure its survival.
Economic progress in the country is a bigger security and Kim Jong-un's decision to quit nuclear testing might be an indicator of his conviction over economy and peace.
For the West and China, nothing would have been happier than this news. For the West, this means Kim's position has weakened while for China and Russia, who consider North Korea as a buffer between their border and American forces and weapons stationed in South Korea, this development means the authoritarian regime in Pyongyang is not collapsing anytime soon.
North Korea has been pro-talks since 2018 started
As 2018 set in, Pyongyang started to express an unprecedented intention of having talks with its enemies. The North Korean team attended the Winter Olympics in South and engaged in talks with South culminating in the April 27 summit talks.
It also proposed a meeting with US President Donald Trump which the latter accepted. In between, Kim also went to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping to show to the world that Pyongyang's ties with Beijing remained good.