Iran deal model for DPRK?
THE international community has been struggling to respond to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s steadily expanding nuclear programme. US President Donald Trump has oscillated between massive threats to devastate the DPRK and holding out the prospect of talks.
On Monday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution to impose fresh sanctions on the DPRK for violating the previous Security Council resolutions by conducting its sixth and strongest nuclear test on September 3.
Why does the DPRK issue matter to the DPRK? Simply because any conflict in north-east Asia could have huge geopolitical consequences and an immediate impact on global supply chains.
Now German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the Iran deal could be a possible model to resolve the DPRK issue. The Iran model refers to the EU-led negotiations to curb Iran’s nuclear programme in return for the gradual lifting of sanctions.
So far the deal has worked well, although there are voices in the Trump administration calling for it to be abandoned.
There are of course significant differences between Iran and the DPRK.
The EU is also a more plausible leader of negotiations than the US or China. It has a policy of “critical engagement” with the DPRK which combines pressure with sanctions and keeping dialogue channels open.
It does of course take two to tango and so far there is little sign of the DPRK being willing to take to the dance floor.
So Pyongyang might be willing to come to the negotiating table only after it is convinced it has a credible deterrent against attacks.
No one can say when this moment will come. But to make it possible sooner rather than later, Beijing and Brussels have to maintain pressure on Pyongyang, as well as ensure Washington does not walk away from the Iran deal.