North Korea: US-NK Summit Tuesday 12 June


Date:  June 6, 2018

by Elizabeth Kendal

Doubtless motivated by the huge success of the 27 April Inter-Korea Summit, 
Kim Jong-un, in a goodwill gesture aimed at easing tensions before the US-NK 
Summit, released three American citizens incarcerated in North Korea. Kim 
Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song flew home with US Secretary of State 
Mike Pompeo on 9 May. But no sooner had one source of tension been removed, 
than US First National Security Adviser John Bolton stoked another by 
suggesting that Libya could serve as a model for NK's denuclearisation [see 
NOTE below]. Though President Trump refuted the comment, even publically 
asserting that regime-change was not on the agenda, tensions exploded. 
Belligerent rhetoric filled the air; the talks were off! Then, on 1 June, 
after weeks of intensive diplomatic activity, President Trump announced that 
the talks were back on.  

In a sure sign that Kim Jong-un is serious about leading North Korea out of 
isolation, he has replaced NK's top three military officials. Reportedly 
deemed to be 'lacking flexibility in thinking', they have been replaced with 
younger leaders who are reportedly more amenable to economic development and 
increased engagement with the world. South Korea's Yonghap News (3 June) 
thought the move could be aimed at 'taming the military' ahead of a deal with 
the US, adding it will give the ruling party greater control over the Korean 
People's Army (KPA), thereby ensuring KPA co-operation at this crucial time. 
North Korea Leadership Watch likewise assessed that the ruling party was 
tightening its control over the KPA, noting that Kim had also reshuffled the 
leadership of the KPA's General Political Bureau (GPB), which handles the 
military's personnel and finances. 'There is a speculative case to be made 
that the GPB, if not properly reined in, could present a formidable challenge 
to Kim Jong-un's authority.' Thus the reshuffle 'represents the final phase 
of this process of reasserting ... the Party's power over the GPB'. As Korea 
analyst Ken Gause explains: 'If Kim Jong-un is set on making peace with the 
US and South Korea and dealing away at least part of the nuclear program, he 
will have to put the KPA's influence in a box and keep it there. This 
reshuffle has brought to the fore the officers who can do just that. They are 
loyal to Kim Jong-un and no one else.'  

If all goes according to plan, then US President Donald Trump and North 
Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet in Singapore on Tuesday 12 June to take 
the first of many steps on what we hope will be the road to a brighter 
future. The US's stated goal is complete, verifiable and irreversible 
denuclearisation (CVID); this is a big step. In reality, the most likely 
outcome would be a series of smaller steps or interim accords with more 
modest achievements, such as a freeze on missile tests and a suspension of 
missile production in exchange for an easing of sanctions [see RLPB 446 (14 
March 2018)]. Similarly, 'reunification' (as in a borderless Korean 
Peninsula) is also a very big step. In reality, 'reunification' will involve 
a series of smaller steps of rapprochement involving diplomacy, trade and 
tourism, with openness carefully managed (possibly for decades) as NK's 
economy takes shape and catches up with the South. Ultimately, prospects are 
good for, with peace, NK could 'become plugged into one of the globe's most 
dynamic economic regions'. Also,ignore all the conspiracy-theory-laden 
Russophobia; for Russia could and surely will play a hugely important and 
valuable role in the opening up and development of North Korea [see RLPB 446 
(14 March 2018)]. People opposed to this path of peace - both in the KPA and 
the US government - will doubtless seek to undermine and even derail what is, 
in the words of Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, 'an important but 
fragile process'. The greatest opponent is sure to be Satan himself, for he 
knows full well that East Asia is not merely 'one of the globe's most dynamic 
economic regions', but one of the globe's most spiritually dynamic, 
mission-focused regions as well. Peace on the Korean Peninsula is about far 
more than geopolitics. Be assured; 'principalities and powers' (Ephesians 
6:12) are committed to its failure. Therefore we pray!  

May religious freedom be realised. May the Church's days of suffering soon be 
over. May the Church be free to serve NK's 'harassed and helpless' and bring 
Gospel light to those in darkness.  


* bind and restrain all evil forces that would seek to sow chaos and sustain 
repression where God seeks to sow peace and deliver liberty.  

* take and use North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, US President, Donald Trump 
and South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, as his instruments, for his purpose, 
in answer to the prayers of many.  

* sustain and richly bless the long-suffering and severely persecuted remnant 
Church in North Korea.  

'Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or 
think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the 
church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. 
Amen.' (Ephesians 3:20,21 ESV) 

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