US President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12, 2018. Photo: AFP/Saul Loeb

Just a few months back, relations between North Korea and the US had become exceptionally tense. The leaders of the two countries exchanged some remarks ridiculing each other. This extremely serious scenario radiated signs of the initiation of a nuclear exchange or a world war.

However, the situation fortunately stabilized when North Korea displayed flexibility by halting its nuclear tests and destroying one of its nuclear facilities. The US responded positively, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump met on June 12 in Singapore. This was the first ever direct meeting between the leaders of the two nations in the seven decades since the division of Korea. It included delegation-level meetings and one-on-one direct meetings.

Experts have argued among themselves on the summit’s results; some believe it to be a success while some claim it was a zero-sum game that lacked concreteness.

If we keep an optimistic view, this effort can be considered the beginning of further cooperation between the two nations. On the other hand, if we operate through a more realistic approach, one meeting is surely not enough to dissolve seven decades of disagreements and misunderstandings, although a long path of cooperation lies ahead.

This meeting has granted us an opportunity and has locked in hope for the achievement of peace, harmony, sustainability and prosperity for humans across the globe. Therefore, the actual beneficiary of this meeting is humanity. The main aim of the meeting was durable peace and stability in the regions surrounding the Korean Peninsula, which will be impossible to achieve without the strong political will of both nations. It is certain that this was a win-win situation.

To understand this realistic view further we must place the meeting in context. The world has experienced so many disasters and wars that now even a tiny ray of hope seems like daylight. Oppression and terrorism have become regular breaking news, so much so that the United Nations seems helpless in playing the very role it was established for.

Situations around the globe have deteriorated drastically. Let us simply consider Iraq’s example. In Iraq citizens lived a safe, secure and comfortable life, albeit under a dictatorship. However, after the US-led invasion, the common man started suffering from shortages of fuel, electricity and safe drinking water, while a lack of education, nourishment and health care persisted.

Regardless of international political disputes, no nation’s citizens deserve to be robbed of their basic rights. The cases of Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria are even more tragic than Iraq’s, while threats to Pakistan, Iran and Turkey are equally daunting.

Certain Western countries have established a norm of countering any initiatives taken toward development and sustainability by China and Russia without realizing that the benefits extend to the entire world, including themselves

Certain Western countries have established a norm of countering any initiatives taken toward development and sustainability by China and Russia without realizing that the benefits extend to the entire world, including themselves. Unable to implement resolutions on Palestine, Myanmar and Kashmir, the UN appears to have lost its authority, which leaves humanity in jeopardy.

It seemed as though history was set to repeat itself before North Korea and the US agreed to a resolution. The US-North Korea summit is a big achievement, and similarly all nations must revert to dialogue and peaceful diplomacy to resolve issues of any kind.

Further, we should respect human life, counter discrimination and simultaneously promote peace, harmony and prosperity for everyone.

The summit must be considered a positive moment that saves not only the US and North Korea but also the regions around both nations, relieving all other countries of great stress.

While China and Russia played a vital role in holding this summit, Singapore too deserves appreciation for hosting this momentous meeting. It ensured the security of the leaders and provided them with a cordial and conducive environment in addition to a comfortable stay.

This meeting has thus placed both the US and North Korea on the right diplomatic track. We expect them to continue to work justly toward the undeniably attainable goals of peace and prosperity. Wherever there is a desire for peace, it can undoubtedly be achieved.

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Zamir Awan

Professor Zamir Ahmed Awan is a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Chinese Studies Center of Excellence, Islamabad, Pakistan. Posted to the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing as science counselor (technical affairs) from 2010-16, he was responsible for promoting cooperation between Pakistan and China in science, technology, and higher education.

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