BURTON: War games, slow trains and the spectre of a Trump-Kim summit

Charles Burton, an associate professor of Political Science at Brock, wrote a piece recently published in the National Post about international military exercises and critical cross-border talks.

Burton writes:

The massive annual U.S.-South Korea joint military exercise kicked off in full force earlier this month after having been delayed to avoid complicating the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

North Korea normally condemns the manoeuvres as war-mongering, but has been quiet this year during the month-long exercise, perhaps because of its own latest move in the Korean Peninsula chess game.

In late March, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made his first foreign trip since taking power in 2011, a surprise visit to Beijing to meet Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party general secretary. Because Kim shares his father’s fear of flying in foreign airspace, he went by train — one so heavily armoured it barely does 60 km/h.

Fortunately for Kim, it also reportedly comes stocked with lobster, fine wines and young women who sing and dance to bide the time.

China’s Xinhua News Agency called the visit Kim’s “obligation to come to congratulate Xi in person” over being re-elected Chinese president and Central Military Commission chairman. Xi thanked Kim for his “profound revolutionary friendship” and urged that, in future, they pay “frequent calls on each other, like relatives.”

Xinhua also reported that “the Korean Peninsula situation is developing rapidly, and many important changes have taken place, Kim said, adding that he felt he should come in time to inform Comrade General Secretary Xi Jinping in person (of) the situation out of comradeship and moral responsibility.”

Continue reading the full article here.


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