North Korea is only seek­ing recog­ni­tion

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - EDITORIAL PAGE -


The sit­u­a­tion on the Korean penin­sula is get­ting in­creas­ingly danger­ous now that North Korea has tested a hy­dro­gen de­vice that can be fit­ted on its in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal mis­siles. It’s time for a new ap­proach to defuse the risk of a nu­clear con­fronta­tion be­tween the U.S. and North Korea, which would cause mil­lions of ca­su­al­ties in South Korea as well.

The Korean War ended with only an ar­mistice be­tween the two Koreas and no peace treaty. There­fore, the first step should be a peace agree­ment to be ne­go­ti­ated and guar­an­teed by the United Na­tions, with no in­volve­ment by the U.S. or any other coun­try.

Since the Korean War, North Korea has been branded as a pariah, es­pe­cially by the U. S. and South Korea. Decades of at­tempts by the U. S. to rein in Py­ongyang’s mil­i­tary as­pi­ra­tions through ne­go­ti­a­tions have failed. Fur­ther­more, squeez­ing the coun­try with fi­nan­cial and com­mer­cial sanc­tions, like the lat­est rounds planned by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, will not de­ter North Korea from con­tin­u­ing to de­velop in­creas­ingly lethal weapons. In­ci­den­tally, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of such se­vere sanc­tions would cre­ate havoc in in­ter­na­tional trade and se­verely hurt the U. S. economy.

Know­ing fully well that a war with the United States would com­pletely de­stroy its coun­try, North Korea has no de­sire to ini­ti­ate a mil­i­tary con­flict.

Its saber- rat­tling and rhetor­i­cal threats are likely to be es­sen­tially de­fen­sive. What the na­tion re­ally wants is full in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion as a nu­clear state — of which there are al­ready sev­eral — and to take its place as a sov­er­eign coun­try on par with other na­tions. Ad­mis­sion into the U. N. as a full- fledged mem­ber should be con­di­tioned on Py­ongyang’s sig­na­ture of the nu­clear non­pro­lif­er­a­tion pact.

Short of the above sce­nario, the cur­rent danger­ous sit­u­a­tion could es­ca­late to a point of no re­turn. OLE GEISE. RICH­MOND.

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