Every day, coronaviruses are rampant all over the world. On This writing, there are more than 1,041,126 cases of corona virus globally, while the number of deaths has exceeded 55,132. The United States alone counts around 24 percent world case.
Nobody is immune to the crisis, not even North Korea. Some reports claim that almost 10,000 in quarantine, temporary 180 North Korean soldiers have died. Despite these reports, North Korea strongly denies any outbreaks. In fact, as if to show their defiance during an international crisis, Pyongyang continues to launch missiles.
That the latest launch came on March 29, with North Korea launching what looked like two short-range missiles toward the Sea of Japan. March saw North Korea carry out three tests, the largest number in a month. After each test, Pyongyang seems to be provoking a response from the world, and in particular, the United States.
So far, that hasn’t happened, with Washington remaining very calm. The only country that actively responds to North Korea’s actions is its neighbor South Korea (reproach inappropriate test) and Japan, as well as six European countries (Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom).
Recently April 1The UN Security Council failed unanimously to condemn the launch. As the world ponders what to do with North Korea during the coronavirus crisis, the United States response will set the tone for future involvement with the Hermit Kingdom.
What Washington Needs to Do
If the report is reliable, North Korea will be controlled and possibly unstable by coronavirus cases. Under such circumstances, Washington must refrain from making hasty decisions such as forcing regime change. Ensuring the survival of the Kim regime is the first step in ensuring that no hasty decisions are made by its leaders. History tells us that the Kim family prefers to fight to the end rather than submit to foreign powers.
Therefore, President Trump’s maximum pressure strategy must be canceled, replaced by a strategy designed for patient negotiations. The United States must be prepared to compromise and give Pyongyang some of what it demands – not as a sign of surrender, but as a way to avoid conflict and move towards permanent peace on the Korean peninsula.
Say No To Denuclearization, Yes To Weapon Control
So what exactly does such a strategy need? What will be different from previous failed attempts? The main reason for the lack of agreement is deep mistrust. The United States sees North Korea unfaithful, never agreeing to reduce its stockpile of weapons. North Korea, on the other hand, views the United States as an enemy force that is constantly trying to destroy them. In short, the risk of constant invasion and the threat of destroying “forcing” North Korea to remain nuclear.
For each breakthrough, the United States must use the coronavirus crisis as a negotiating chip to return to the negotiating table. Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un’s sister, writing a letter President Trump praised him for his close relationship with the Chair, while also stating that if “greed and greed intentions were not taken,” no agreement would be considered.
Although this can be considered a lack of enthusiasm for an agreement, it can also be seen as a desire to negotiate during denuclearization (what Pyongyang sees as unilateral, Washington’s greedy intention) is not taken into account. Performing good intentions must begin the process of building trust. In this case, humanitarian assistance from America and the reopening of official communication channels can help persuade Pyongyang to return to the table.
From there, the goal must be gun control, not denuclearization. As a Stanford University nuclear physicist Siegfried Hecker saidNorth Korea can maintain several functional nuclear weapons. The aim is to lock the weapon in its current capacity. Three NO – no new weapons, no better weapons, and no transfer of technology or weapons – should be the guiding principle for any strategy to come. Without accepting that North Korea is investing too much in nuclear weapons to turn around, no talks have a chance of success.
Past failures told us that any negotiations with North Korea would be difficult. The Framework Approved in 1994, Six Party Talks in 2005, and the Leap Day Deal in 2012 showed that a simple nuclear program aid exchange would not work. Pyongyang will most likely reap the benefits and walk away. However, there is reason for optimism about reaching an agreement.
North Korea has made steps to meet the conditions outlined in the previous agreement. The problem is not only with Pyongyang, but with Washington. In the 2012 Leap Day Deal, North Korea agreed to commit to a joint statement and refrain from testing, in return for aid and the promise of non-aggression from the United States. Meanwhile a launching ultimately ending negotiations, mixed signals from Washington – severe sanctions, joint exercises with South Korea, and encouragement to Pyongyang’s Six-Party Negotiations were not interested – contributed greatly to its failure.
With that in mind, the United States must make similar exchanges with North Korea. However, this time, Washington must provide a short grace period before enforcing an agreement, which allows Pyongyang to prepare to maintain their current supplies. In return, the United States will provide assistance, sign non-aggression pledges, and limit joint exercises with South Korea for annual or biennial sessions. Washington can also conclude a transition operational control (OPCON) to South Korea as a gesture of good intentions for Pyongyang. Washington can convince Seoul of its continued support through the UN Command in Korea and intelligence / logistical support.
Whatever strategy the United States pursues, challenges lie ahead. However, one thing is clear. The United States must dismiss the idea that full and irreversible denuclearization is possible on the Korean peninsula; therefore he must change gears and look to lock Pyongyang’s inventory at current levels. Whether this is possible depends entirely on the U.S. commitment. and increased coordination with allies.
Rintaro Nishimura is the 2020 Korean Spring Research Research Assistant at the National Interest Center. Spencer Wong is the 2020 Korean Spring Research Research Assistant at the National Center of Interest.
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