About three weeks have passed since the US-North Korea summit was held in Singapore on June 12, but we have not heard any good news about North Korea’s denuclearization. Obviously, North Korea has begun to avoid concrete negotiations with the US concerning its denuclearization. North Korea persists in its excuse that the Japanese abduction issue has already been solved. The US has suspended the scheduled three military exercises with South Korea including the exercise in August, and in fact, some of the US troops in South Korea are prepared to withdraw. South Korea is said to suspend the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system. It is said that the US government will demand the Japanese government to bear the cost of 5 trillion yen for North Korea’s denuclearization and the release of Japanese abductees.
The US-North Korea summit was left extremely unfinished. The complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) of North Korea was not discussed fully and thus, its vague interpretation remained. President Trump was too conciliatory to North Korea. So far, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited China three times, and he speaks on behalf of China’s President Xi Jinping. Xi Jinping has advised Kim Jong-un to propose that President Trump should suspend the US military exercises with South Korea. Furthermore, Xi Jinping tries to delay the termination of the Korean War Armistice Agreement. Such expressions as “China is the only winner,” and “China is fishing in troubled waters,” appeared in the recent newspaper headlines.
President Trump is now having a trade and tariff war with China, some European countries and Japan. In addition, he is causing many other troubles in the world, for example, (1) the US withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal－an agreement between Iran and five western powers plus the EU－, and started its economic sanctions against Iran, (2) the US moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, (3) the US withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council, (4) and domestically, enforced severe regulations on Mexican immigrants to the US which include the building of a long wall along the Mexico-US border, etc. These US diplomatic policies have been carried out by President Trump who is conscious of this fall’s midterm elections, and is doing his best to be re-elected in the 2020 presidential election. If the world order and security are built based on the US domestic motives and interests, many countries, including Japan, will not be able to tolerate Trump’s one-sided diplomatic policy.
President Trump’s Twitter politics and Twitter diplomacy continue, and other countries’ governments are at a loss to understand his intentions, and are concerned about his diplomacy. Under the current President Trump’s regime, the government’s (or bureaucracy’s) organizations have not been completed yet, and several millions of the major political posts still remain vacant, which is extremely a rare case. Since President Trump is almighty in every governmental decision, including personnel administration, and every word and action of his own is considered as his order, his staff only wait for the orders on the basic policy, and nobody can protest or express his or her deliberate opinions against the order because otherwise they would be fired.
Japan has become tremendously affected by the President’s one-sided diplomatic policies. If anyone can do it, it would be Japanese Prime Minister Abe, as the leader of an ally of the US as well as a close friend of the President, to exchange frank opinions and advise him not to make unreasonable conflicts with other countries. However, we cannot read President Trump’s reaction. If Prime Minister Abe’s advice to the President fails, Japan will lose the US trust in Japan. Japan should decide whether to advise the President or to stand by him patiently. It is high time for Japan to tackle such issues as its politics, national self-defense, and trade.