Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un patted themselves on the back after signing a “peace deal” on Tuesday.
Trump boasted, “These pundits, who have called me wrong from the beginning, have nothing else they can say!”
His supporters might now claim that he’s a great diplomat, not just a trigger-happy thug.
He might even join the long list of US warmongers and criminals who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Alongside the right wing guff, millions of ordinary people in Korea and worldwide will breathe a sigh of relief. Less than a year ago Trump had threatened to “totally destroy North Korea”.
But Trump’s warmongering in Asia is far from over—and the tensions that produced the Korea crisis have not gone away.
The deal is partly a sign that North Korea’s ruling class feels in a stronger position having acquired nuclear weapons.
Kim’s father and grandfather could only have dreamt of forcing the US to the negotiating table.
After its sponsor Stalinist Russia collapsed in 1991, North Korea was gripped by stagnation and surrounded by enemies.
Its rulers watched nervously as the US invaded Iraq in 2003 on the trumped-up pretext that dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Following the warped logic of the world system, they decided to get some real ones to gain leverage on the world stage.
Their gamble appears to have paid off. The wording of the deal is slippery enough for both Trump and Kim to claim victory.
And negotiations open up the possibility of normalising relations with South Korea and modernising North Korea’s state-capitalist economy.
But the situation isn’t stable. Trump was quick to say there would be no removal of the 30,000 US troops in South Korea.
The focus of Trump’s ire was North Korea—but it was a sideshow to a much bigger confrontation with China.
Imperialism is a global system of competing capitalist states.
And at the moment Asia—and the South China Sea in particular—is an area of growing rivalries.
Almost £3 trillion worth of shipping passes through it every year. Most of it is Chinese trade and has to pass through the narrow Straits of Malacca.
China wants to protect this key choke point. The US is determined to see off its biggest economic competitor.
This rivalry between Trump and China (see page 17) could easily shift back to the question of North Korea.
Trump’s grandstanding over war with North Korea brought the world closer to the possibility of nuclear annihilation than at any time during the last 50 years.
We have to keep opposing imperialism—starting with the anti-Trump protests on 13 July.