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North Korea’s ongoing nuclear missile tests prove it’s time to normalize relations

North Korea’s ongoing nuclear missile tests prove it’s time to normalize relations

Given the history of repeated dead-end disarmament talks, déjà vu begs the question whether it is time to cut bait and accept the unacceptable. NBC News
By Bennett Ramberg, Former policy analyst at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs

Pyongyang’s recent flurry of missile tests — most recently, a submarine-launched ballistic missile South Korea says North Korea launched Tuesday — and the apparent resumption of nuclear weapons materials production at the Yongbyon reactor are reminders that North Korea remains a central perennial problem befuddling U.S. foreign policy. Despite North Korea’s acknowledged shaky economy — further weakened by strong international economic sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic — leader Kim Jong Un’s commitment to maintaining the country’s bomb program remains unbowed.

The Biden administration’s ill-defined “calibrated approach” looks unlikely to move the nuclear-elimination needle. Nonetheless, Washington continues soldiering on — reaching out to China for help with its efforts to draw North Korea back into disarmament negotiations.

Given the history of these repeated dead-end disarmament talks, déjà vu begs the question whether it is time to cut bait: accept the unacceptable — nuclear North Korea is here to stay — and complement current U.S. military containment with an offer of diplomatic relations unconditioned by Pyongyang’s nuclear status.

History demonstrates that not only do such ties keep contacts on an even keel in normal times, they can play a critical role in resolving nuclear crisis.

This path would build on precedent. President Richard M. Nixon’s 1972 opening of relations with China, for example, did not involve questioning Beijing’s nuclear program.

Today, blunting North Korea’s nuclear threat relies on deterrence and defense — embodied in the long-standing U.S.-South Korea alliance, bolstered by nearly 30,000 U.S. troops stationed in the South, an offshore nuclear umbrella and an emerging sea-based ballistic missile defense. What’s lacking is a durable diplomatic component.

With the exception of the United States and North Korea, all nuclear weapons states have diplomatic relations………  https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/north-korea-s-ongoing-nuclear-missile-tests-prove-it-s-ncna1282118

October 23, 2021 - Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA

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