By FREDDIE ESPIRITU
Doves of peace glittered in momentary smile as leaders of protagonist Koreas waltzed in history at their demilitarized zone. With polite hand motion, South Korean President Moon Jae-in invited North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un into his democratic territory by which the 38-year old antagonist unprecedentedly obliged in astute statesmanship. The summit’s apex unfolded before the eyes of the world as South Korean President Moon returned the diplomatic courtesy with himself making his maiden breakthrough step into the communist Korean soil. The scene was truly heartening for world observers hawk-eyed in following decades of the Korean conflict and tensions. It can be gleefully heartening if this Korean summit diplomacy does not partake of the Filipino dance of “Tinikling” where performers can be trapped in missteps.
As the South Korean President rolled out the red card carpet for President Kim, the world forecasts gradual diffusion of nuclear chills triggered by international ballistic missiles tested out from the communist Korean territory into peripheral airspace, especially neighboring Japan. It could only be wished the intermittent ceremonial handshakes and gleam of understanding during the historic summit will grow robustly just like the tree of peace the reconciling Korean leaders planted captured by digital lenses beamed around the world.
In my homeland, denuclearization, bilateral agreements and resulting war end at the Korean Peninsula will be closely followed by aging remnants of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK), especially the 12th Philippine President Fidel Valdez Ramos, who as young Lieutenant, fought side by side with “Fighting Filipino” soldiers that reached 7, 500 for the duration of their deployment in the Korean War in 1950-1955. Officers and Battalion Combat Teams (BCT) elements were awarded multiple medals and recognitions for valor and gallantry in fierce battle actions in Operation Tomahawk, Imjin River, Heartbreak Ridge, Yultong and Hill Eerie. 112 Filipino soldiers were recorded as killed in action during PEKTOK’s immersion in the Korean crises.
The two Koreas became the world toast for unprecedented diplomatic fete seen by pundits as positive laurel that would still entail incessant hard work for peace to truly prevail in the peninsula. The arena awaits how the US would play its cards amidst this internal combustion within the Koreas. What will be fresh foreign policy tweets coming from POTUS Donald Trump after his initial jubilation on the Korean waltz or contemplated maneuvers from new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who breezed through confirmation hearings as windfall from his Easter weekend secret meeting with President Kim?
Trump will have to build on the Koreas’ own peace initiatives. Will the Korean theater of war end with demand for full denuclearization by the US and it allies? Let us await for the projected fall out should President Kim counter-formulate the withdrawal of American troops and bases in South Korea amid persistent reports that rocketman Kim’s missile sites have imploded out of their own snafu. National security experts are now back into their drawing board cracking their heads on anticipating crucial thinking and actions of their respective key players, particularly Presidents Trump, Kim, Moon and Xi Jinping of China who would be spelling out their next moves and end-game strategies for global order.