MARK POPE: Transformation on Korean peninsula [OPINION]
Illegal migration versus transformation on Korean peninsula
I don’t believe we have reached the crescendo of the “immigration debate” raging in our nation’s capital and throughout the 24-hour news media business. Any proposed solution to illegal immigration by President Trump is met with Trump-Derangement-Syndrome. In the eyes of the left, the man can do nothing right. The hatred and vitriol for our unconventional 45th President of the United States is unprecedented in modern times. So let’s let that situation settle down before addressing it.
Instead, let’s examine the aftermath of President Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore earlier in June. Once again, the anti-Trump media is mostly negative and pessimistic about Trump’s meeting with Kim. As President Trump says, “we’ll see what happens.” If indeed denuclearization is to happen on the Korean peninsula, it will take time, and will unfold with a progression of future meetings between the U.S. and North Korea.
Positive developments are already happening in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is the official name of North Korea. Really, that’s the official name of the tiny country which is the size of Pennsylvania, with a population of 24 million. Throughout the country, commonplace murals, banners, and posters which denounced and reviled the United States are now conspicuously missing. Messages on the vanquished printed propaganda depicted the U.S. as a “rotten, diseased, pirate nation,” and the printed propaganda promised, “merciless revenge” on American forces for an imagined attack on the totalitarian nation. North Korea is the most isolated country in the world so very few North Koreans have access to news and information about the outside world. State propaganda plays a huge role in shaping the views of North Koreans.
Is this the start of an Orwellian turn by the Kim Jung Un regime? Let’s hope so. Infamous posters and postcards showing North Korean missiles on their way to Washington, D.C. have also disappeared. In their place are murals and posters depicting themes of North-South Korea reunification.
Additional changes in North Korea extend to the country’s government-controlled media. News reports that once depicted the U.S. as hostile – highlighting the U.S.’s military involvement in places like Syria – are no longer critical. The English-language, London-based, international daily newspaper, Financial Times, wrote that North Korea’s main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, has not featured a direct attack on Trump since March when the president agreed to meet with Kim. Following the June 12th summit, Rodong Sinmun was filled with pictures of Kim and Trump together at the summit. The newspaper is also not reporting the anti-U.S. news. Other international events involving North Korea, such as Kim’s visit last week to China, are being reported right away, rather than after a typical protracted waiting period, and in more neutral language.
North Korean expert, Peter Ward, said “This is fascinating. Generally speaking, neutral or positive [news] coverage is normally reserved for countries that Pyongyang has friendly relations with.” Another sign that North Korea-U.S. relations are improving is swift and decisive action by North Korea to return the remains of U.S. service members missing since the Korean War.
Only time will tell whether North Korea will transform its isolationist, bellicose international approach to geopolitics and whether it will change its brutal human rights policy of abusing political dissidents. Even a small country such as North Korea, which wields nuclear weapons capability, is an international threat to a stable world. But I’m not a Pollyanna. I know that North Korea has violated nuclear agreements with the U.S. on numerous occasions over the past 30 years. While positive developments are happening, I choose to be optimistic. Pray for great transformations on the Korean peninsula.