Ji Seong-ho is a North Korean defector residing in South Korea. He runs an organisation called NAUH, which helps other North Koreans escape, and he is a frequent speaker at the Oslo Freedom Forum. Here’s why he thinks North Korea suddenly agreed to a meeting with Trump. Following is a transcript of the video.
Ji Seong-ho: North Korea is simply trying to buy more time. They aren’t willing to give up their nuclear program but are growing weary of the joint military exercises and the anger of the American public and its government. The same goes for Trump’s government. To ensure the security of the nation, negotiating with North Korea concerning their nuclear program and disarming this threat is their highest priority. And it’s come to a point where they feel the need to take real action against North Korea.
And this is troubling news for North Korea, and they are quite scared as well. In reality, if you take a look at North Korea, it’s the government that’s afraid of starting a war, not the people. The people can survive through wars, but the North Korean government survives by exploiting its people and bullying other countries. It’s a good life for them, but starting a war would endanger all of that, not to mention their lives. Although North Korea likes to brag about their successful missile launches and nuclear tests, they still need more time to complete their program. I think this meeting is to buy that very time.
Also Kim Jong-Un is being pressured to make a move as the public sentiment toward him is very bad. Kim Jong-Un promised his people a paradise to live in in just five years. His father said the same thing, and so did his father before him. The people were unsure whether he could be trusted but gave him a chance nonetheless. In the end, Kim Jong-Un couldn’t keep his promise. On top of that, the trade sanctions have increased the living costs and made the lives harder for the people. To these people who are used to surviving without aid from their government, they can’t understand its obsession with the nuclear program.
And Kim Jong-Un has to resolve this by making a cooperative gesture toward the world. Last year, after their sixth successful test, they declared themselves a nuclear power and promised the end of famine for all its people. Less than a week later, they contradicted themselves by warning people of another possible famine in the near future. People are growing upset over the incompetence of their government. People are pressuring the government to take real action and Kim Jong-Un tried to ease this tension at home during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, gesturing for harmony with South Korea and giving people hopes for more foreign aid and increase in their quality of lives.
With everyone having different agendas for this meeting, everything depends on North Korea’s attitude. I think for a change to come out of this meeting, North Korea must accept its own mistakes and be open to ending their nuclear program.
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