Lots of historical photos, few nuts, and a sunken economy

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That call to negotiate Kim Jong-un in the historic speech of 2017 new year set a new scenario: opened a stressful schedule of meetings with the presidents of China and South Korea and achieved the unprecedented and longed-for summit of equals with United States after months with reciprocal threats of imminent destruction. That dynamic would end with the lifting of the sanctions that strangle the North Korean economy.

The recent night military parade in Kim Il Sung Square certified that the road map has been stuck. North Korea sent a clear message to the United States with his new ICM and Kim Jong-un tearfully apologized to his people for their hardships. Pyongyang has broken the isolation caused by their excesses but the closure of its borders with China due to the coronavirus, floods caused by summer rains and international sanctions have blunted the economic green shoots. It is a personal failure for a leader who, after inheriting the throne from his father, had emphasized as a priority the improvement of the living conditions of his people. It sounded countercultural in a country that had always put military development first.

“In the national press he had already stated that the economic situation was not going as he wanted but I was surprised to see him crying because he gives a feeling of weakness & rdquor ;, he points out Ramon Pacheco, Professor of International Relations at King’s College de Londres and an expert on North Korea. “He has realized that his policy has led nowhere, that for years he has promised improvements that do not come. Already can’t afford any more failures not even this situation can be extended for more years, not even months & rdquor ;, he continues.

Denuclearization

North Koreans are probably the most suffering people in the world. During the great famines of the 90s, millions died and it was not strange to see corpses in the street, several fugitives have confirmed to this correspondent. But the current context discourages asking for those sacrifices. To Pyongyang’s middle classes, who have enjoyed western products in assorted supermarkets in recent years, they would find it unacceptable. And the leaks of information have burst the watertight of then: they know that the south of Parallel 38 is not a conglomerate of tramps, whores and criminals. Down there, you have seen the bootleg DVDs, they live in abundance.

The denuclearization process that was supposed to oil the economic recovery remains seized. Of the first summit with Trump in Singapore A bombastic and well-intentioned agreement came out but without any concreteness and in Hanoi, where its implementation was expected, both leaders accused each other of raising excessive claims after getting up from the table. There is no third summit planned, and Pyongyang is upset that its piling up of goodwill gestures has not yet been rewarded with the lifting of just one of the economic sanctions. But both leaders have struggled to save their personal chemistry from the turmoil of the process. Trump revealed that “he had fallen in love & rdquor; from Kim after receiving his letters and the North Korean press avoids criticism of Trump that his predecessors collected.

So much patience is surprising in such a rebellious regime and that it remains faithful to the voluntary moratorium on long-distance missile launches and nuclear tests in the face of the absence of compensation. Experts maintain that Pyongyang awaits the post-election stage in the United States to demand the new president to place the denuclearization process in the urgent folder. The only certainty is that Obama’s policy, stubbornly closed to negotiation as a prize, has been buried by the certainty that it only served to accelerate Pyongyang’s military program to threaten US soil. The willingness to meet with Kim Jong-un that they have expressed in recent weeks Trump y Biden they are already a success for North Korean diplomacy.

There is still the question of how long his temper will endure. From Biden, a negotiating process is expected more attached to orthodoxy and less to the ego of the newspaper library. “If Trump wins, another summit is held and everyone comes out empty-handed, North Korea is very likely to lose patience. He cannot afford any more failures, a summit does not feed the people and many in his country are likely to wonder if their leader is being used, & rdquor; says Pacheco. It is certain that the agreement, if there is one, will not be total, immediate and irreversible, as Trump had announced when he longed for posterity on the eve of Singapore. Solving a problem that goes on for seven decades requires more than just a photo.

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