21:22 GMT +323 October 2019
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    South Korean President Moon Jae-in walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018

    ‘Cutting Down the Tree was a Sign of Aggression, Now Used as a Sign of Peace’

    © REUTERS / Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool
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    The plug has been pulled on the confrontation on the Korean Peninsula, as Kim Jong-Un and Moon Jae-In complete the Peace Summit. Tom Harper, a Doctoral Researcher in Politics at the University of Surrey, believes the agreement to be more ‘symbolic’ of peace, rather than a signifier of complete denuclearization.

    Sputnik: It is a momentous day for North and South Korea- what does this mean for the geopolitical landscape as a whole?

    Tom Harper: Rather, than geopolitical landscape change, it has been symbolic seeing the denationalization thing before. For example, I believe that with Kim's predecessor, Kim Jong-Il, it was his father's dream to denuclearize Korea. In some ways, this is very reminiscent of that. It is very much more of a symbolic movement; the South of Korea has taken down the propaganda that was directed towards the North. So I think it's in that sort of vein as that.

    It's not really in their interest to keep the war going. But I think it's not so much reunification I think there is more for the talks I would say.

    Sputnik: Could we be seeing other countries following suit?

    Tom Harper: There could be a potential precedent, whether they follow suit or not is unsure. But yes, I think could be a potential example, maybe it's the release of tension that could be the way to go, if this is successful.

    Sputnik: What do you know about the symbolism behind the 'planting of the tree of peace'?

    Tom Harper: Again, there was actually a time when at the border, the American troops stationed there cut some of the branches on a tree that was blocking the view of the bridge. This tree was believed to have been planted by Kim Il-sung, the founder of their state. They got struck upon by North Korean troops who claimed that was an aggressive move. So it was from a while ago, so probably not relevant, but it is a symbol, cutting down the tree was a sign of aggression, whilst at the same time now I think it's being used as a sign of peace.

    Sputnik: Is denuclearization of the peninsula really an achievable goal?

    Tom Harper: I think with denuclearization, it's always been a difficult thing, because in many ways that's the Norths 'trump card', in the line that if they have this, no one will attack, or they won't dare to attack if we have this nuclear power. They'd have to be absolutely sure that nothing is coming for them if they do denuclearize. It's not like them but at the same time they also have to share- allied with a region that is not going to do the tests that could potentially put them in the range of death. It's a fine balance so to speak.

    The opinions expressed are those of speaker alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik News.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    denuclearization, peace, tree, ceremony, talks, Moon Jae-in, Kim Jong-un, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), South Korea
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