De­nu­cle­ariza­tion must be top goal

Global Times US Edition - - EDITORIAL -

The world has never seen such a cri­sis. North Korea not only an­tag­o­nizes the US, but also pours dis­dain on the author­ity of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who may have been com­pletely con­fi­dent in han­dling the Korean Penin­sula is­sue be­fore tak­ing of­fice, has prob­a­bly be­come the US pres­i­dent most be­lea­guered by the is­sue. Py­ongyang al­ways snubs his threats and is ap­a­thetic to his praise for re­straint.

More im­por­tantly, Py­ongyang has no one sup­port­ing it. Both China and Rus­sia have im­posed strin­gent sanc­tions. While Py­ongyang’s nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity and long-range strike ca­pac­ity isn’t so­phis­ti­cated enough to ri­val Wash­ing­ton, nei­ther the US nor the whole world can fig­ure out a so­lu­tion to North Korea’s nu­clear is­sue.

North Korea has a huge dis­par­ity in strength with the US, let alone the world. But Py­ongyang has reached a kind of bal­ance by threat­en­ing Wash- in­g­ton and the en­tire world.

It’s no hard thing for the US and the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to bring un­der con­trol a coun­try the size of North Korea. But North Korea is an ex­cep­tion. All the pres­sure hasn’t served the goal of de­nu­cle­ariza­tion. De­nu­cle­ariz­ing the penin­sula is just a slo­gan from which a num­ber of aims have been de­rived and dis­turbed in­ter­na­tional ef­forts, en­abling North Korea to ma­neu­ver and main­tain its nu­clear devel­op­ment.

It is prob­a­bly only China that wants de­nu­cle­ariza­tion since the US has been of two minds since the start. The ad­min­is­tra­tions of Bill Clin­ton and Ge­orge W Bush have back­tracked on their deals with Py­ongyang, and since then North Korea has had trust in nei­ther the US nor in­ter­na­tional ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The US and South Korea have been averse to the North Korean regime. Given Seoul’s tar­get of penin­sula uni­fi­ca­tion, both coun­tries hope to trig­ger civil strife and bring down the regime in North Korea. Their at­tempts ap­pear ev­i­dent on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions.

Py­ongyang will want more as its nu­clear devel­op­ment ad­vances. North Korea started de­vel­op­ing nu­clear arms to de­ter pos­si­ble sub­ver­sion by Seoul and Wash­ing­ton, hence its in­sis­tence on an ex­plicit se­cu­rity guar­an­tee from Wash­ing­ton in early Six-Party Talks. But to­day, Py­ongyang won’t stop at sim­ply de­mand­ing no US at­tacks. It wants in­ter­na­tional rights and devel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties com­men­su­rate with its sta­tus as a “nu­clear power.”

Py­ongyang, which owns nu­clear weapons and mis­siles that al­legedly can hit the US con­ti­nent, has more bar­gain­ing chips.

It in­volves more po­lit­i­cal cost to­day for the US and its al­lies to make North Korea re­nounce its nu­clear weapons and in­ter­me­di­ate and long-range mis­siles than 10 years ago as they don’t want to ad­just their old-fash­ioned mind-set of sim­ply pres­sur­ing Py­ongyang mil­i­tar­ily.

The US and South Korea seek to solve the penin­sula nu­clear is­sue with lit­tle po­lit­i­cal con­ces­sions and at lit­tle eco­nomic cost. They even have other aims in this process, such as strength­en­ing mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion with Ja­pan, ex­pand­ing the US global anti-mis­sile sys­tem and dent­ing China’s re­gional clout.

North­east Asia may never go back what it was. To reach a new sta­ble state re­quires all par­ties in­volved to ac­cept some losses and pay for the tur­bu­lence of the past decade.

No one should try to be the biggest win­ner. In­stead all should aim to com­pro­mise and pre­vent the worse from hap­pen­ing.

War is the worst sce­nario. Sim­mer­ing ten­sions will desta­bi­lize North­east Asia and put Wash­ing­ton in an awk­ward po­si­tion. All rel­e­vant par­ties should re­turn to their pri­mary aims.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.