Giving peace a chance in this troubled region
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2018 - 12:00am

It was the 120th Independence Day celebration for the Philippines, but we spent it glued on CNN, BBC including ABS-CBN to watch history in the making with the most unexpected event for the year 2018… the summit meeting in Singapore between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and what a full day it was! Listening to what the commentators where saying, even US President Donald Trump did not expect how things would go in that meeting. He even thought that he might even cut off from the meeting if things didn’t go as planned. But as things happened… it was a great day for world peace.

I submit that I was a Korean baby, having been born six years after the end of World War II. But then the Korean war was unexpected in the sense that it was a war that shouldn’t have happened just after the world ended the 2nd World War. But then the world has gotten used to a war and this was one war (This was the first war under the leadership of the United Nations) that shouldn’t have happened, but somehow it did. While the Korean conflict brought in a new technology called jet planes as main protagonists in that war, I recall that then US General Douglas MacArthur proposed to nuke even Beijing to end that conflict and in the end, he was fired by US Pres. Harry Truman. But in those days, Gen. MacArthur was correct in his proposal to use America’s nuclear capability.

While the Korean conflict ended its fighting, it did not end with anyone’s surrender, hence the two Koreas remained technically at war. This resulted in the creation of a demilitarized zone between Pyongyang and Seoul where where the two Koreas can meet for important meetings. But they remained still literally at war until otherwise removed for peaceful reasons.

When the New Year 2018 began we believed that a possible conflict was in escalation when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un kept firing his supposedly nuclear tipped missiles off the coast of Japan or near Guam. Then a few months ago, things began to unfurl when last Feb. 8, North Korea sent 22 athletes to the Winter Olympic games, which was a first in a very long time. It was indeed a special ceremony to see Koreans play the Olympic games as one nation. This could never have been thought of since 1945, but something was being tried that wasn’t tried before.

Then last March, the two Korean leaders Kim Jung-un and South Korean leader Moon Jae met in at the Demilitarized Zone in Pyongyang for the very first time. Then things began to move swiftly and unexpectedly, we thought that all this was but a dream. But when the North Korean leader sent his top aide, Kim Yong Choi to Washington DC to map out how the meeting between US Pres. Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un would happen in Singapore, then we believed that this was no longer a joking matter… things were happening and the whole world prayed for this to happen so we can have a safer world.

That this meeting would happen on the 12th of June was of great significance to Filipinos who would be celebrating its 120th year of Independence. I stayed home last Tuesday because after all, we no longer have Independence Day parades in Cebu unlike in the past and it was a great time to see that things have finally moved forward to give peace a chance. People that I’ve met the other day all hope that things would more forward to give peace a chance and for me… this was more than enough that even US Pres. Trump was satisfied with his meeting with Kim Jong-un. Unfortunately, the CNN commentators, notably Christiane Amanpour gave a negative comment about that meeting, which only shows how the CNN staff hate anything that has to do with Pres. Donald Trump.

There is no doubt that the CNN staffers wanted more than what Pres. Trump told them in a presscon, but for me, that the two warring leaders would take time to meet each other decades after the start of the Korean conflict in 1950, is a step in the right direction. Pres. Trump was criticized for stopping the annual war games that the US would hold with the South Korean military. Come now, war games can be restarted at any time, but in my book it was a good gesture for the US President to offer to North Korea which for me created a measure of trust. Trust is the most important ingredient for the two warring nations to settle. When there is trust, then peace can be realized.

At this point, we can only hope that both the US and North Korea, including South Korea would settle their differences. We are re not saying that things can move quickly, but then we do have the example of what used to be North Vietnam and South Vietnam that became one nation. The same thing with Germany, which used to be East and West Germany. Having one Korean nation is now a possibility.

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