Pepe Escobar: This Is The Key Word In The Trump-Kim Show

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

By reaffirming the Panmunjom Declaration, the US President has committed to bringing its military back from South Korea and thus a complete denuclearization of the South as well as the North...

The Trump-Kim geopolitical reality-TV show – surreal for some – offered unparalleled entries to the annals of international diplomacy. It will be tough to upstage the US President pulling an iPad and showing Kim Jong-un the cheesy trailer of a straight-to-video 1980s B-grade action movie – complete with a Sylvester Stallone cameo – casting the two leaders as heroes destined to save the world’s 7 billion people.

Away from the TV, the former “Rocket Man”, now respectfully recast in Trump terminology as “Chairman Kim”, did strike a formidable coup by completely erasing the dreaded acronym CVID – or “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” – from the final text of the Singapore joint statement.

Throughout the pre-summit negotiations, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) had always stressed an “action-for-action” strategy leading to denuclearization, as in Pyongyang being compensated every step of the way instead of waiting until after complete denuclearization – a process that could last over a decade – to be eligible for economic benefits.

The Singapore joint statement enshrines exactly what the Russia-China strategic partnership – formalized in the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit – was suggesting from the beginning: a double freeze.

The DPRK holds off on any new nuclear and missile tests while the US and South Korea stop the “war games” (Trump’s terminology).

This logical sequence of the Sino-Russian roadmap is based on what South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed with Kim Jong-un at the inter-Korean summit last April. And that ties in with what North Korea, South Korea and Russia had already discussed at the Far East summit in Vladivostok last September, as Asia Times reported; economic integration between Russia and the two Koreas, including the crucial connectivity of a future Trans-Korean railway with the Trans-Siberian.

Once again, this is all about Eurasia integration; increased trade between North Korea and Northeast China, concerning mostly Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces; and total, physical connectivity of both Koreas to the Eurasian heartland.

That’s yet another instance of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) meeting the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). And not by accident South Korea wants to connect deeper with both BRI and the EAEU. 

When in doubt, re-read Panmunjom

The Singapore joint statement is not a deal; it’s a statement.

The absolutely key item is number 3: “Reaffirming the April 27, 2018, Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

This means that the US and North Korea will work towards denuclearization not only in what concerns the DPRK but the whole Korean Peninsula.

Much more than “…the DPRK commits to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”, the keywords are in fact    “reaffirming the April 27, 2018, Panmunjom Declaration…”  

Even before Singapore, everyone knew the DPRK would not “de-nuke” (Trump terminology) for nothing, especially when promised just some vague US “guarantees”.

Predictably, both US neocon and humanitarian imperialist factions are unanimous in their fury, blasting the absence of “meat” in the joint statement. In fact there’s plenty of meat. Singapore reaffirms the Panmunjom Declaration, which is a deal between North Korea and South Korea.

By signing the Singapore joint statement, Washington has been put on notice of the Panmunjom Declaration. In law, when you take notice of a fact, you can’t ignore it later. The DPRK’s commitment to denuclearize in the Singapore statement is a reaffirmation of its commitment to denuclearize in the Panmunjom Declaration, with all of the conditions attached to it. And Trump acknowledged that by signing the Singapore statement.

The Panmunjom Declaration stresses that:

“South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. South and North Korea shared the view that the measures being initiated by North Korea are very meaningful and crucial for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and agreed to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities in this regard. South and North Korea agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

That’s the commitment. “International community”, as everyone knows, is code for the US as The Great Decider. If Washington does not bring back its military from South Korea, there will be no denuclearization. Essentially, that’s the deal discussed between Kim and President Xi Jinping in their two crucial, pre-Singapore meetings. Get the US out of the peninsula, and we have your back. 

So all focus should be on “reaffirming”, the key word in the Singapore joint statement. 



Lost in translation Fri, 06/15/2018 - 22:08 Permalink

Always enjoy reading the nonsense written by Western “experts” about Korea, though they have never lived here, never worked here, and can’t read, write, or speak the language.

Like Korean pundits penning authoratative essays about Brazil’s rising fuel prices, or the editors of Xinhua publishing their views on “common sense gun laws” in the US.

Too funny.

Escrava Isaura helltothenah Fri, 06/15/2018 - 23:56 Permalink

Lost in translation …nonsense written by Westerner “experts” about Korea, though they have never lived here, never worked here, and can’t read, write, or speak the language.

The same could have been said about the Bible because the “experts” didn’t read or spoke Hebrew.

Anyway, in your opinion, will the Americans ever leave South Korea? If they do or not, will the Koreas reunite?

In my view, Americans will never leave Korea unless North Korea open up for American business.

Example: South Korea's high-profile companies are now more than 50 percent owned by foreigners. In some cases the foreign stakes go above 70 percent. Foreigners now account for 44 percent of the total Korea stock market capitalization of around $360 billion……..


In reply to by helltothenah

Lost in translation Escrava Isaura Sat, 06/16/2018 - 00:09 Permalink

Hard to say if the US will leave (sure hope so).  Minjoo Party swept the national elections here last Wednesday, so I suspect momentum for the US to draw down is growing faster, now.

ROK officials toured the shuttered Kaesong factory last week too, which comes as no surprise.  I expect to see it re-started sometime this year or early next.

Reunification is more of a Western fantasy, I hear the term bandied about in western media, all the time.  It reflects a lack of understanding about Koreans, their regional differences (and rivalries), and their culture.  

Reunification won’t happen for a generation or more.  Cooperation, yes; goodwill gestures, yes, deescalation, yes.  But reunification, highly unlikely.

Can’t happen unless US forces GTFO of here, China would obstruct the process.  ROK will probably have to leave the US security sphere for PRC to be receptive to the process.

But then, if ROK is out of the US security sphere, the old animosities with Japan will resurface.

Then there are bureaucratic interests that will prove obstacles, and officials both north and south that all benefit (and profit) from division and suspicion.  Entrenched factions on both sides that prefer the status quo.

It’s a complex subject...

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

44_shooter Lost in translation Sat, 06/16/2018 - 03:10 Permalink

How do you figure a relationship is going to work with anyone from the North?  70 years of brainwashing leaves more than one generation that will have to swallow the fact that everything they have been told is a lie.  Everything about themselves and about every other country in the world.  

How does one mentally square that the entire reality you know is in fact false?  Do you think there will be some hatred there?  Enough to turn against those in charge?  Hell - I’m not sure I even think those in charge have thought this through - how many of those at the top, who do as they please with the peasants below them will be willing to trade it all for access to a Big Mac and 7-11??  

Watch some videos on people who have escaped North Korea - like the fairly young ones who say they had never seen a plastic bottle before making it to the south..

In reply to by Lost in translation

Lost in translation Escrava Isaura Sat, 06/16/2018 - 00:18 Permalink

“South Korea's high-profile companies are now more than 50 percent owned by foreigners. In some cases the foreign stakes go above 70 percent. Foreigners now account for 44 percent of the total Korea stock market capitalization of around $360 billion...”

Excellent point.

Beginning last year I noted a growing consternation on the financial programs about that very thing, here.  One guest on a stock market recap I watch, exclaimed, “Americans are buying up a larger and larger percentage of our companies, and what are we getting in return?  Just newly-printed paper!  We can’t allow this to continue...”


In reply to by Escrava Isaura

Dr. Bonzo Escrava Isaura Sat, 06/16/2018 - 01:53 Permalink

Anyway, in your opinion, will the Americans ever leave South Korea? If they do or not, will the Koreas reunite?

Most Koreans are sociologically stuck in 3 Kingdoms period. I'm not joking. Look at voting patterns since they allowed open elections. They vote according to geographic affinity.

Talk to educated Koreans and the only empathy you ever hear anyone express is for their immediate relatives stuck north of the DMZ. For the rest they could care less. Clan first. Clan last. South Korean don't even really want the DMZ to come down. The ownership class in South Korea simply want to own North Korean land and exploit North Koreans for cheap labor. Even the few 30,000some North Koreans currently in South Korea are heavily discriminated against and the realization is sinking in among South Koreans that 60-years of commie oppression has left North Koreans hopelessly ill-prepared for a post-information age economy. The reschooling efforts alone will take a decade to land.

Most human rights efforts regarding the horrors perpetrated against the North Korean people are either international efforts or efforts lead by select South Korean Christian groups. The average South Korean knows about as much about North Korea as they know about Vermont.

The South Korean political class sees North Korea as a source of abundant cheap labor so they can stop the influx of chocolate people from the rest of Asia.

If you look at South Korea's geopolitical plays you quickly realize even within their own backyard Koreans are hopelessly out of their depths. They can't stop historical enmity with Japan from aligning with the Japanese to thwart Chinese expansionism across the region, especially concerning fishing rights thought it would be in their mutual interest. Instead Koreans have been selling out to China ever since the Chinese started pumping dollars into their economy, something the average Korean has absolutely no interest in or receives any benefit from. Worse, it puts the Koreans in a position where they become a vassal of China. Everyone keeps blathering on endlessly about Washington's exploitative political antics and the American sphere of influence... I'd say Koreans have benefitted handsomely from alinging with the US, with the US taxpayer and the US consumer willingly forking over their cold hard cash to subsidize Korean growth over the last 60 years. Nut not a peep about that.

It's always "fuck whitey."

Fine. Works for me. Bring our boys home TODAY and let Korea enjoy the benefits of being China's vassal. See how that plays out. I've never heard one Korean express the realization that every single utterance China has made in defense of annexing Tibet on historical grounds applies equally and more to Korea. They just don't get it.

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

Dr. Bonzo Escrava Isaura Sat, 06/16/2018 - 06:37 Permalink

South Koreans are salivating about the idea of converting the wildland areas within the 4-kilometer wide DMZ that spans coast-to-coast into all sorts of developments... recreational, suburban, industrial, wetlands, parks, recreation... tourism... more ski resorts... I've heard everything.

Since 1953 there have been an estimated 4 million landmines liberally strewn across that real estate. The cleanup effort could take who-knows how long and cost hundreds of millions. There's no doubt they want the land, and there's no doubt they don't want a deluge of 20 million desperate North Koreans pouring south within 6 months craving instant access to the 21st century. Competing priorities.

The DMZ isn't going anywhere anytime fast, with or without the Americans.

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

Dr. Bonzo RafterManFMJ Sat, 06/16/2018 - 12:54 Permalink

Why would it take so much money?

Your prolly right. Cheaper and faster. I think if (when?) they start clearing mines it's going to be drones and bots. Koreans have already been reluctant conscripts since the Korean War... you'd hear the howl of outrage clear across Korea Town in New York if you forced anyone to cleanup landmines in the DMZ at the tail-end of their war.

Thanks for your kind words btw.


Your handle reminds me.... Gus Hasford is tremendously underrated. The Short-timers one of my favorite Vietnam novels. Sad Gus gets no credit for his own story. Sad.

In reply to by RafterManFMJ

Scipio Africanuz Dr. Bonzo Sat, 06/16/2018 - 09:06 Permalink

You don't understand. What happens over there, is for the locals to solve. Whether Koreans become vassals to China, is their business, whether animosity between Japan and Korea reignites, is their problem. The original reason for the founding of the UN, is peaceful dispute resolution, not rubber stamping hegemonic ambitions.

Like it, or not, the entire world must build a Republican system of global affairs management, one that actually takes into consideration, the interests of majorities, and minorities, and actively prevents the tyranny of either.

The US Constitution, was the pilot project and if we can't restore the Republic, say goodbye to global peace and cooperation. That is why November 2018 is a very important event for humanity. Restoration of the Rule of Law in the US, makes its restoration possible globally.

So in effect, I'm imploring the entire world to support Americans in the fight to restore the American Republic. Every help or assistance will be appreciated, you can most help, either by supporting financially, the alt media cavalry that's fighting to get the truth out, or through arts and music to remind Americans of a time they were beloved.

We need the millenials to understand that democrat or republican, it doesn't matter, what matters is Liberty (American) or Tyranny (globalist). I'm not talking free trade here, I'm talking Republic (Rule of Law) vs Imperialism (Rule of Gun).

This is the choice we face in November 2018, and lest I forget, the severing of entangling alliances, especially of the most murderous kind, with the ziosalafi headchopper murderers!...

In reply to by Dr. Bonzo

Escrava Isaura LA_Goldbug Sat, 06/16/2018 - 06:32 Permalink

American business (profits) and interests (energy and resources) CAN NOT leave any of their ‘colonies’ because the American middleclass, lifestyle, and retirements are underpinned by their current state-capitalism ‘deep-state’.

The real problem ‘inflation’ for America now is not a lack of energy and food that will be coming, by 2032 the latest. The real inflation is the b’shit that Americans are told.

Give you some examples.

Trump. He run on MAGA, which is basically anti(deep-state)establishment, better wages, and create more American jobs. But Trump reality is the opposite.

Trump raised the funds for the DOD and NIH, don’t get more deep-state than those; however, Trump requested that companies that receive these grants that the wages of their workers be cut while the companies can keep the profits plus his tax-cuts. Trump also told the restaurant owners that they can keep  the waiter’s tips as long as the waiters make the minimum wage.

So, since Trump got in office, wages have been pushed-down and 4 million Americans lost health-care while the top Americans ‘swamp’ are doing even better.

To add insult to injury, Trump funds ‘money-laundering’ come from OVERSEAS while he expands his business, and now his influence and power 'trade-wars' as the President, OVERSEAS.


In reply to by LA_Goldbug

windywoo Lost in translation Sat, 06/16/2018 - 10:35 Permalink

"Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia. Born in Brazil, he's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong."

In reply to by Lost in translation

Dr. Bonzo windywoo Sat, 06/16/2018 - 13:16 Permalink

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent ...

Meh... I dunno about these guys. Ever meet a correspondent? It takes all sorts. You've got your Sy Hersches on one end and your Geraldos on the other and everything in between. I just know Pepe brings an obvious Latin slant to his reporting, read, socialism olá. Pepe has very obvious anti-America chip on his shoulder. Read anything about the US that Pepe writes and Americans sound like cartoon characters. Dude doesn't have a fucking clue. 

Remember Mike Chinoy? The CNN Asia-desk guy? He covered Tiananmen Square massacre among other highlights in his career. Ran into him once in the middle of some sort of a social unrest bang-up. Stuck with the CNN crew for the rest of the afternoon, casually chatting with Chinoy and basically ranking on CNN. I let him have it. He matter of factly laid it out. Knew the whole CNN slant, knew they were shills, knew they had an agenda, knew all of it. He kinda shrugged and he was like... shoot my footage, send it in. The rest is beyond my control. Get to travel through Asia, they foot the bill, they were even paying for grad school. He was very chill about it. No idealogue at all.

What really impressed me about Chinoy though; few years after that he walked into a Hong Kong Starbucks while I was sitting there. Saw me, recognized me instantly and walked over to say hi. I was just one dude he met one afternoon completely at random. That impressed me.

Class act.

In reply to by windywoo