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Trump Withdraws from North Korea Summit - a Re-balance of Asian Influence to China

Often, people who share a common interest of better relations, are best left mitigating any differences among themselves. Outsiders and observers perform best on the sidelines of such proceedings without any direct or controlled interjections into the negotiations.

So when North Korea accepted South Korea's invitation to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the two Koreas, having a mutual interest of better relations, summarily opened a vital channel to better cooperation on their shared peninsula with the possibility of attaining military and nuclear de-escalation, which could transcend to a more secure and stable region and world.

The new unprecedented communication between North and South Korea was underscored when both nations paraded under one flag and banner at the Winter Games. The two Koreas even fielded a mutual one-nation team in ice-hockey. 

The immediate result: an unprecedented meeting at their borders between the leaders - another pathway toward better relations and broader stability on the Korean peninsula.

The historic meeting and thawing of relations between the Koreas came amid months of nuclear threats and boasts exchanged between North Korea's Kim Jong-un and United States (US) president Donald Trump.

Rather than the Koreas being allowed to continue the path to normalization and better relations alone, a short-sighted idea for a summit between Jong-un and Trump was proposed. There was no mention or invitation to China - North Korea's neighbor, biggest trading partner and the rising global power in Southeast Asia. 

For a number of weeks, members of Trump's administration and his nationalistic supporters relished in the thought of Trump bucking decades of White House 'hands-off" approach toward North Korea via a successful unprecedented summit with Kim Jong-un. Some of them, stoking Trump's ego that he himself appeared to relish in at a recent rally, even floated the premature notion of Trump winning a Nobel Peace Prize for the North Korean summit.

In the mean time, Jong-un made his first visit out of North Korea since becoming president and paid a visit to China's Xi Jinping. Xi and Jong-un had a second meeting recently also in China. 

Subsequently, US war games with South Korea and comments construed as threatening by North Korea, referencing a US-Libyan denuclearization plan that eventually witnessed the ouster and death of the Libyan leader, sparked anger from North Korea. 

Finally, today, Trump announced that his June 12 summit with Jong-un was canceled.

Trump's cancellation of the summit thereby confirms China's edge in the sphere of influence over Southeast Asia. 

North Korea's dismantling of a nuclear facility earlier this morning accords Pyongyang the opportunity of protection under China. The nuclear-facility destruction was not meant to appease Trump's fancy. But rather, I venture to opine, it was done as a good faith signal for Beijing's eyes.

Any expected idle nuclear threats from North Korea might not become a foregone conclusion after today's summit cancellation. Instead communication between North Korea and South Korea could be restarted as China plays a bigger role in forging denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. Moreover, China could be expected now to further cement its role as the major player over a larger region of Asian in the face of waning traditional US influence.