Beyond the Bubble: North Korea opens denuclearization discussion
After months of high tensions with Kim Jong-un, President Trump will meet with him in May. | Photo illustration by Thecla Li / THE CHIMES
East Asia is holding its breath after President Donald Trump announced he would participate in the first meeting between sitting leaders of the United States and North Korea.
AN UNEASY PEACE
South Korean officials announced North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has offered to cease nuclear and missile tests in the interest of pursuing denuclearization, though the leader has previously stated it would not relinquish its weapons, according to the New York Times. U.S. officials have announced the meeting will take place in May, though a precise date and location remain uncertain.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced North Korea has not yet confirmed the meeting, but officials expect the summit to occur nonetheless, according to the Wall Street Journal. The White House has also stated Trump will only meet with Jong-un if North Korea takes yet-undefined “concrete actions,” according to Reuters.
Freshman English major Jessica Carrera believes the tense situation has the possibility of leading to war.
“I think it’s very scary to hear about, you know, just knowing that it’s threatening to us now,” Carrera said. “It’s something that most people can overlook, but I think the biggest emotion would just be ‘scary.’”
The situation continues to develop on Twitter, where Jong-un and Trump have flung insults and threats for months. Missile tests from North Korea, including one fired over a Japanese island in September, have added to the tensions, as have its six nuclear tests. Trump has responded to these with strong sanctions.
THE JESUS BAND AID
Sophomore biblical studies major Joseph Lee believes students should seek information regarding situations such as this, but remains wary of dismissing the issue out of hand.
“I think just putting a Jesus Band Aid on it is not a good thing, because I feel like that’s what a lot of Christians do, they just like, ‘Oh, he’s got it, like gospel, just love,’” Lee said. “I think we do need to get the context of everything and try to strive to know things better... and then with the knowledge of the Bible we should try to figure out the wisest way to do things.”
While Trump and Jong-un have served as main actors in this global theatre of nuclear proportions, those living in other nations across the world, including South Korea and Japan, are also monitoring the situation closely.
“There’s still a lot of Americans who are deployed in military bases in South Korea,” said Joseph Kim, junior human biology major. “Being from South Korea myself, I understand that there was a lot of tensions, especially when there was a lot of bombing threats going around, and so it’s kind of interesting to see that North Korea was willing to have a talk with America specifically, but what is that going to mean for the public safety of South Korea?”