Kim Jung-un reached out to President Trump to schedule another summit meeting. Is it a ploy to stall for more time to build out North Korea’s nuclear arsenal? Or, is Kim really prepared to give up his nuclear program for a peace treaty with the US?
This essay will explore the possibilities and the issue relating to a North Korean deal.
I have no diplomatic experience, but I recognize the potential for a good deal when I see it. From my vantage point, Trump has all the cards in the impending game of chicken with Kim. There is no conceivable reason, other than ego or stupidity, why a deal for peace should not become a reality in the near future. It will be good for all parties concerned including South Korea, Japan and even China.
Keeping its nukes will bring nothing less than misery and regime change to North Korea. If Kim does not accede, the US will increase economic sanctions and continue to threaten military action.
The people of North Korea are experiencing great hardships. The country is crumbling economically as North Korea continues to spend inordinate amounts of money on its offensive weapons and its huge standing army.
China has begun to support its neighbor to the south, but not enough to offset the economic pressure being applied by the US. North Korea’s standard of living is deteriorating every day because of shortages of food and other supplies, and at some point North Koreans will rebel.
What will happen if Kim’s government falls? Many North Koreans will attempt to leave the country in the fallout. South Korea will likely close its borders as will China. Neither wants a refugee problem or increased costs associated with caring for displaced North Koreans. After a failure of the government, the unauthorized movement of nukes from North Korea could pose a very significant problem for the region, especially if the weapons fall into the hands terrorists or regimes that support them.
Most importantly is Kim’s fate if his regime falls. His life will be threatened if he is unable to find sanctuary elsewhere.
A deal with the US would ameliorate North Korea’s pressing issues and assure Kim a long tenure as its leader. By giving up and/or destroying its nukes, and agreeing to end human rights violations, Kim would bring long lasting peace and prosperity to his country.
What are the benefits to North Korea if it makes peace with the US? Here is a partial list:
-The US would agree to officially end the Korean War.
-North Korea would be welcomed into the international community of nations.
-The US would guarantee the security of North Korea. In effect, Kim’s regime would be protected from any outside forces.
-North Korea’s reliance on China would decrease, giving the country more diplomatic and economic options.
-North Korea would no longer need to spend significant amounts of money to finance its nukes and standing army.
-North Korea’s relationships (social, economic and military) with South Korea would flourish.
-All economic sanctions would end immediately.
-North Korea could begin to develop its industrial capabilities.
Of great importance is that the US flatly refuses to ease sanctions unless the nukes are disposed of. This is the critical issue, and it will decrease the odds that North Korea does a bait and switch as it has in past negotiations.
It’s imperative that US negotiators clearly indicate that Kim’s regime will be defended with a peace treaty. Kim’s security and longevity are paramount to him.
Diplomatic negotiations are tricky. Many things can sidetrack talks including egos and false expectations. Yet this deal is doable and there is no reason it should not be consummated within a year.