Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited North Korea amid the backdrop of the U.S. -vs- China trade confrontation. The geopolitical economic issues form the structural disconnect between the ongoing U.S. negotiations and the responses from China through their proxy province in North Korea.
Secretary Pompeo debriefs the media shortly before departing the DPRK; and expresses a generally positive disposition about the ongoing talks:
However, unnamed officials, likely elements within the central North Korean government who are control agents for Beijing, send a more confrontational message at the conclusion of the meetings:
(AP) North Korea says high-level talks with a U.S. delegation led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were “regrettable” and has accused Washington of trying to unilaterally pressure the country into abandoning its nukes.
The statement by an unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman on Saturday came hours after Pompeo concluded two days of talks with North Korean officials led by Kim Yong Chol.
The statement says that the United States betrayed the spirit of last month’s summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by making unilateral demands on “CVID,” or the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.
It says the outcome of the follow-up talks was “very concerning” because it has led to a “dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearization that had been firm.” (AP Link 9:55pm)
How do these different takeaways reconcile?
Keep in mind that Secretary Pompeo was not permitted to meet with Kim Jong-un. If our ongoing thesis is accurate it is likely Red Dragon (Chairman Xi) is positioning the DPRK for maximum trade and economic leverage. It would be against Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping’s interests for Pompeo and Kim Jong-un to have a public display of agreement.
Until there is an empirical or factual reason to counter what seems like an obvious geopolitical strategy, we should consider all events through the prism that the primary leadership within the DPRK, the officials controlling Kim, are under the control of China.
The trade confrontation is China’s biggest geopolitical risk. The primary weapon China holds toward demanding terms from the U.S. would be their ability to change the dynamic in North Korea at any given moment. From this frame-of-reference things begin to make more sense.
On the surface it appears the U.S. is negotiating terms for a denuclearized North Korea; however, under the surface the bigger issue is the ongoing economic confrontation between the U.S. and China. The DPRK is Red Dragon leverage.
As we previously shared:
[…] Consider that Chairman Kim was/is likely put into power not as a linear out-cropping of his familial relationship, but more as a strategy of ongoing Chinese duplicity. Kim Jong-un was seen as easier to control. Consider the possibility that all of the DPRK officials who carry out the objectives of the ruling North Korean government are factually operating according to the dictates of the hidden Chinese authority.
Within this dynamic Chairman Kim received the scorn of the international community; but was -in reality- merely a figurehead, a false panda face – hiding the true authority behind all of the DPRK policy, and a designed strategy constructed by China.
Consider that by confronting the economic interests of China, President Trump fractured the decades-long ruse, and is now positioned to expose the nature of the Chinese ruling authority within North Korea. This becomes a stunning paradigm shift; a reality that few could possibly fathom, unless you consider the cunning of Beijing.
Under this scenario, it is adverse to the interest of China for a united, open and democratic Korean peninsula where the North and South are together again. It would be particularly adverse to Xi’s interests if the U.S., Japan and a united Korea formed any substantive international alliance.
The best play for China would be to control the outcomes of any unification and position China as the control agent for any united Korea. This would be critically important if, as I am now increasingly confident, North Korea was/is actually a proxy province of China and has been for decades under the complete -albeit hidden- rule of the Chinese authority.
Under this scenario, Chairman Xi has to play a very careful game of geopolitical cunning; and if at any moment he sees Chairman Kim accepting the rescue of President Trump, Xi will likely move to eliminate Kim and defend his interests quickly.
Imagine the internal stress upon the young Kim Jong-un who has been forced to ride this dragon for almost a decade, and knows his government is not actually his government but rather a governing body with all officials reporting to Beijing.
Imagine you are the next-door-neighbor to an abused child who lives inside the palace of the abuser. The abuse has been psychological and manipulative upon this child for decades. How do you rescue him? Additionally, how do you rescue him when the ultimate abuser is the king of all communities, governments, political and legal systems in/around the palace?… and only you know the nature of the dynamic…. (link)
If our overall operating thesis is correct, these are very dangerous times. Communist China will not give up on a decades-long grand design for economic conquest. President Trump is confronting that Chinese strategy head-on.
The DPRK officials under the influence of Beijing will use their North Korean position to assist the ruling members of Chairman Xi Jinping.
These are tenuous times, and unfortunately the vast majority of the U.S. media are cheering for President Trump to fail.