Friday, 18 May 2018
Trump on North Korea. And UK?
What an astonishing series of events over the last few months with POTUS Trump policy on North Korea.
From the Little Rocket Man and dotard, fire and fury insults at the start of the year with missiles aimed at Guam and fortunately mistaken missile alerts in Hawaii (relevant for improved Pacific Resilience with yet another volcano erupting?) the thaw has begun.
A United Korea sports team at the Winter Olympics with Kim Jong-Un’s sister meeting South Korea’s President and VP Mike Pence – or at least sat near him in the bleachers- astonishing enough.
And shattering the ice of a Korea frozen since 1953, the North Korean and South Korean presidents meeting at the Panmunjon peace village on the DMZ and stepping onto each other’s land before more detailed discussions.
Then new State Dept Secretary Mike Pompeo returning with 3 American prisoners held in North Korea.
And the North Korean timezone adjusted by 30 minutes (or should that be 70 years?) to correspond with South Korea’s.
While President Xi of China, in a Western business suit compared to Kim Jong-Un’s Mao suit urging on détente and US-China trade links with ZTE Telecoms.
Trump Towers surely a beacon gleaming out over China to the UN Habitat offices in Fukuoka for redevelopment of the slums of India and Africa?
And the North Korean test site dismantled in just a fortnight along with South Korean press observers as verification.
The whole nuclear test site demolished as Putin’s Novichok chemical weapons site a sign of real change.
But now a Summit in Singapore to detail more reforms.
Certainly urging on a peace treaty as a signatory with over 1,000 UK troops killed in the 1950-53 war. A poignant memorial here in East Kent at Margate cemetery of bare brick alluding to the desperate poverty of a Britain still crippled from WW2.
The WW2 rationing continuing into the 1950’s – shades of the need for North Korean conscript troops often deployed out of their barracks and trenches and into the fields at harvest time.
And if the Who Lost China debate still rages, with Germany for example far outshining UK investments in China, then East Germany is perhaps relevant for the likely reunification of Korea.
Slowly and then as an avalanche the cracks appeared in East Germany’s glasnost with West Germany as the Berlin Wall fell and within two years full reunification was achieved.
Undoubtedly as with East Germany (anyone for a used Trabant? No?) almost all North Korea’s infrastructure will need to be replaced.
And shouldn’t UK be sat at that top table of discussions?
Even a new Landrover Defender factory of UK’s richest man £21BN Jim Ratcliffe.
Whether it’s Sheffield’s new Boeing HQ and the replacement of all 19 of Koryo Airlines passenger planes – banned from most nations as decrepit and dangerous. Even Chinook Resilience helicopters given the mountainous, remote, frozen terrain and poor roads of many North Korean towns and villages, North Korea’s transport structure will need the rust scraping off it.
South Korean and Chinese investors must already be chomping at the bit.
Those North Korean rocket scientists might be worthy addition to UK’s space agency unless Florida and NASA are calling first.
A shoo-in too for Seabees and Royal Engineers assistance and cooperation with North Korea, from the remote roads and aid airstrips and bridges, of frontier economies such as Sudan, Afghanistan and Myanmar.
The frontiers of both North Korea and Myanmar described recently as stuck in the past of the WW2 era.
POTUS Trump will no doubt reinvigorate his 15 Davos friends. Krupp steel may face greater competition from Chinese and South Korean steel, but surely Nokia and its proven Smart Cities work in Chattanooga perfect for Pyonyang?
The New York Times even urging similar public transport and Climate Change reforms closer to home in Nashville.
The Nestle-Starbucks joint venture paying dividends already with the first Starbucks café to open in Yangon – only Laos the last ASEAN nation to benefit from the surge in coffee culture.
And from his Swiss boarding school days, Kim Jong-Un might welcome some more Nestle chocolate in North Korea. Even Lucky Iron Fish iron supplement.
The Volvo Ocean Race might end up making waves off a united Korea’s beaches too.
And Statoil and Total oil must be putting a shine on their solar panel and windfarm divisions – UK’s ITV news credits showing a stunning map of the world lit up at might from space. Except North Korea.
20M people in one main city and dozens of small towns will need both modern energy and telecoms – especially the internet and wifi given South Korea’s pre-eminence as a Digital Nation.
Opening up North Korea might help UK expand its internet activity with South Korea too. The BT reforms over its failed sports channel surely ripe for consideration of UK free public wifi and speeding up 5G rollout.
Even teeing up a few Japanese and South Korean baseball teams (a United Korea team again?) for display matches for next year’s Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees fames in London.
UK at the moment looking like the North Korea of digital compared to South Korea.
Certainly the gurgling of EU talent for the Creative Industries down the Brain Drain is likely to speed up with any Brexit or talk of Brexit.
While UK as the surveillance nation with most CCTV cameras and even SmartMeter and Sony TV televisions more suited to a draconian police state as North Korea or East Germany as was?
UK a colder, more hostile nation after any Brexit?
And East Germany after 25 years of the last Russian troops leaving, is in need of another great leap forward in redevelopment from weak economic statistics. The 1,000 strong US Army Europe HQ heading eastwards to Frau Merkel’s constituency?
UK troops, and police, now less relevant in the face of Russian border-nibbling militarism held in Donetsk, sat in barracks in Germany. Yet Albania in danger of becoming Europe’s only narcostate with 40% of its farmland under marijuana, and the most drugs prisoners in UK jails after Jamaica cycling through jail and probation on the rates.
Former Tony Blair aide Alastair Campbell no doubt offering wise advise to Albania’s PM Edi Rama and ladeling out funds from the bureaucratic nightmare of the alphabet soup of EBRD and IMF etc.
While Davos15’s HSBC and Deloitte are surely ideal to navigate the shoals and reefs of AIIB and ADB funding, the former with UK and latter with Japan but neither with USA. And a larger bowl of alphabet soup in IMF and UN oversight.
UK-USA companies such as Walmart-Asda (the latter with the Sainsbury merger too?) relevant for a hungry and famine-ridden North Korea.
That UN oversight no doubt extending to SUN Scaling Up Nutrition for North Korea’s hungry people.
And plus-fours if not quite a hammer and sickle, best suited to a Trump hotel and casino in downtown Pyongyang and certainly golf-mad South Korea along with Taiwan (another UK lost opportunity with woeful UK expats undermining the British Council?) must be ripe for a few Trump golf courses and beach resorts?
Opportunities in the landmine-laden DMZ even after cleanup, with the border area a wilderness and wildlife reserve through the conflict. Those North Korean military binoculars and bunkers used on wildlife rather than troop formations.
Even British companies doing rather well in Asia such as Boots and eventually Paul Smith fashions perhaps boosted by David Beckham as a Sports Diplomacy football icon and now the British Fashion Council Ambassador. Plus of course plus fours, or just baggy trousers, of Victoria Beckham’s stylish fashions competing with Ramsgate’s Vivienne Westwood and her new advertising campaign with Margate’s Tracy Emin.
While North Korea’s people must want a change from propaganda whether their own television and radio or VOA so shouldn’t BBCTV be pressing for media deals? Even the archives of North Korean television and radio shows as historical artefacts.
Those North Korean Mao suits no doubt quickly replaced by Levis and Burberry too.
North Korea changing from 1950’s Cold War sabre-rattling relic to being poised to become a 21st century smart nation within weeks.
Not so much the winds of change but a hurricane of activity blowing through East Asia because of Trump.
USA trade sanctions too likely to fall away from Cuba as the Castro regime fades too? For an America First President Trump is already leading the way on international activity.
The Kelloggs factory evacuated in Venezuela, and then nationalised in the face of USA sanctions and 190,000 citizens fleeing as far south as Argentina and Chile for their own cornflakes suggests the Venezuelan economy is far behind North Korea and even Russia in snap, crackle and pop.
Already calls for the Nobel Peace prize for POTUS Trump becoming louder and only dimmed through the divisions of the Paris Climate Agreement, Jerusalem Embassy – 52 protesters shot dead on the first day - and Iran nuclear deal.
And if denuclearisation undoubtedly means the end of North Korea’s nuclear activity certainly too a reduction and ultimately withdrawal of American troops back to Japan is viable.
And as the border island disputes between North and South Korea fall away as a united nation, the Trump Summit could lay the groundwork for Korea-Japan island disputes, even the beginnings of an East Asian version of the EU with Korea, Japan, China, Russia, Taiwan and Mongolia cooperating on peace and prosperity.
Trains crucial too for connectivity with Kim Jong-Un (that armoured Presidential train to China almost identical to Octopussy and Goldeneye train sets of East Kent’s James Bond, but without the nuclear warheads? Xmas fixtures of East Kent’s Hornby and Airfix too?) already urging a rail link between Seoul and Pyongyang.
Apt too that Ramsgate’s Manston airport in East Kent, featuring in the Moonraker novel, doubled as a North Korean set in the Die Another Day 007 movie.
With Siemens going into overdrive from its new East Yorkshire factory on rail carriages?
And no doubt onto China’s OBOR and even Bering Strait Bridge to Canada and USA – maybe Krupp would want to be involved in that megaproject with SAP and ABB AI and robotic systems.
The Korean-Japan undersea tunnel long discussed too and hardly more outrageous than the Channel Tunnel here in East Kent.
Those Californian Apple computers and phones (and South Korea’s Samsung) manufactured in China as well as Korea and shipped across the Pacific with superdry feet.
Trump in North Korea already achieving more in six months than previous regimes in 6 decades.
UK only watching from the sidelines?
Time for Change