Don't Over-Hype The Putin-Kim Summit, But Don't Downplay It Either


The upcoming Putin-Kim Summit tentatively scheduled for sometime later this month shouldn't be over-hyped as a game-changing development like some in the Alt-Media are prone to do, yet it also shouldn't be downplayed as insignificant like the Mainstream Media will probably do too.

The Kremlin couldn't confirm South Korean reports that the long-awaited Putin-Kim Summit would tentatively be held sometime later this month, but all indications suggest that serious preparatory work is being made to have it happen around that time, either before or after the upcoming Belt & Road Initiative Forum that will soon take place in China and see President Putin conveniently traveling to the region anyhow. It's expected that Alt-Media will over-hype this meeting if it does indeed take place, while their Mainstream Media foils will downplay it, though the true significance of that event would likely be somewhere in the middle of both usual extremes. 

Russia is pouring a lot of money into modernizing its Far East region and transforming it into an Asian investment hub that could conceivably capitalize on its geostrategic location at the confluence of several of the world's main economic powerhouses (China, Japan, South Korea) and astride the Northern Sea Route that will soon facilitate much more trade between Western Europe and East Asia via the Arctic Ocean than ever before. One of the main connectivity plans that this entails is the construction of a Korean Rail Corridor connecting South Korea to the Trans-Siberian Railway via North Korea, something that might make some symbolic progress during the prospective summit. 

This initiative has been discussed for the past couple of years but nothing tangible has been achieved thus far, though a breakthrough might finally be made if North Korea comes to realize the important "balancing" role that Russia is poised to play in giving it a third strategic partner that could help the reclusive country better manage its relations with China and the US. This isn't just talk either, since North Korea is reportedly interested in buying Russian commercial aircraft to modernize its ageing fleet, which would proverbially "put its money where its mouth is" and show its commitment to relying on Russia as its "balancing" partner. 

Should the deal go through, then Russia would immensely benefit because it would be much more than just a lucrative transaction. The US might be planning to turn North Korea into a positive example of its "New Washington Consensus" whereby it actually keeps its word and contributes to the rapid development of the country if it denuclearizes in order to rebrand America's reputation abroad and diminish Chinese influence in this strategic state and possibly others. Correspondingly, it would in Russia's interests that global investors travel back and forth from then-former "Hermit Kingdom" using its aircraft and seeing first-hand how high their quality is. 

This "demonstration effect" could also improve the reputation of Russia's non-military and -resource exports and help it also rebrand itself too, as well as creating a positive impression that might lead to North Korea's future investors becoming curious about checking out what economic opportunities Russia's nearby Far East could provide as well. This might especially be the case if the Korean Corridor is actually completed by that time because it could allow them to connect their investments in both countries and use this transnational region as an integrated production point for EU-destined goods. That scenario, however, is still some time away from unfolding. 

The outcome of the prospective Putin-Kim Summit will therefore reveal exactly how realistic this vision is and whether or not it remains in the realm of geoeconomic fantasy. Their meeting will therefore be far from a game-changing development even if Alt-Media over-hypes the event to make it misleadingly appear as though Russia is a relevant actor in the denuclearization process, but it'll also be much more important than how Mainstream Media will probably downplay it. In short, it might very well be a step in the right direction for both countries, but it'll take some time for both of them to deliver on whatever they might agree to. 

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.