September 4, 2017

How to deal with Pyongyang

Oliver Sawbridge sets out eight steps the West can take to help reduce the threat posed by North Korea and pull us back from the brink of nuclear war.

A nuclear-armed North Korea presents the Trump administration with one of its most urgent foreign policy and security challenges. Previous attempts to denuclearise North Korea, including incentives, presidential assurances, security guarantees, sanctions, threats and isolation, have not worked. As a result, America now faces a North Korea of growing boldness and lethality.

As it currently stands, North Korea could target South Korea, Japan and US bases in the region with nuclear tipped ballistic missiles. Expert David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists claims that a recently tested Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) revealed potential to reach Alaska. A threat, therefore, now exists to the US itself in addition to northeast Asia and America’s key allies and military bases in the region.

The Trump administration’s current policies and announcements to curb the North Korean threat are confused, contradictory, and unhelpful. A recommended course of action includes:

1. Increasing the scope and frequency of military exercises that include other UN member nations for a more multi-lateral, unified approach;

2. Intensifying UN sanctions on Pyongyang to the level formerly applied to Iran. Secondary sanctions should also be placed upon third country entities including Chinese companies that trade nuclear weapon materials with North Korea;

3. Intensifying UN sanctions on Pyongyang to the level formerly applied to Iran. Secondary sanctions should also be placed upon third country entities, including Chinese companies that trade nuclear weapon components with North Korea;

4. Pursuing dialogue with Beijing to get them to use their laws to curb Chinese entities trading sanctioned goods with North Korea;

5. Closing North Korean overseas trading offices when they violate sanctions;

6. Encouraging the international community to intensify inspection of North-Korean aircraft and vessels to curb the flow of materials needed to build nuclear weapons;

7. Invest in training more Korean-speaking diplomats and government officials so that they can engage with Korean-speaking business communities in various countries to gain access to information about goods North Korea is attempting to procure;

8. Discuss the possibility of replacing the Korean War Armistice with a Peace Treaty, which would include denuclearisation.

US policy should make clear that it wishes to resume meaningful dialogue with Pyongyang and that it stands by its past commitments to normalise ties with a non-nuclear North Korea.  This should include commitments to the integrity of its borders and that it is not seeking regime change.

North Korea has bedevilled US foreign policy for twenty years. Diplomacy and economic sanctions have failed thus far and military intervention would be catastrophic. There is no alternative to continuing the first two recommendations but until China and Russia come on side, the omens aren’t promising.

3.15 avg. rating (64% score) - 13 votes
mm
Oliver Sawbridge
Oliver Sawbridge recently moved to London from Auckland, New Zealand. He graduated with a master’s degree in international relations after working for central government in New Zealand. He is now looking to further his career in international affairs. When he is not researching and writing blog posts or articles you will find him playing football or eating a Patty & Bun cheese burger, with extra cheese.
  • forgotten_man

    Apart from the saving lives by invading conventionally argument there was also the realisation that there was a fairly small window of opportunity to stop Japan before it became technically unassailable even by the US.
    This was 1945 remember , fighting at a range of 6000 miles was not a trivial task even for the US at that time.
    Japan didn’t need to win, just bring about a stalemate.

  • Gordon Stewart

    Why shouldnt NK have nuclear missiles? I cannot see why some countries can have them and others cannot, the USA are the only country who ever used them (in earnest) and Kim is well aware what happened to Gadaffi, Sadamm et al so hes looking to avert regime change

  • barney mcgrew

    The ultra pacifists must be waiting for Kim Jong-Un to bomb Japan or Guam before anything will be done (If they have their way). At some point something physical will have to be done by somebody. I suspect Donald Trump wants China to be that “someone”, because whoever attacks will get a lot of verbal abuse from the usual suspects. NK is never going to stop what it is doing by asking nicely.

  • LoveMeIamALiberal

    At some point this will not be enough and North Korea missile sites and nuclear facilities will need to be destroyed.

  • Debs

    leverage on China trade by Trump.

x
We’re committed to providing a free platform to host insightful commentary from across the political spectrum. To help us expand our readership, and to show your support, please like our Facebook page: