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How to invigorate Trump's North Korea initiative
  来源:苹果蓝号检测  更新时间:2024-07-26 03:08:45
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks before the Senate Wednesday. Pompeo,<strong></strong> President Donald Trump's point man on North Korea, said Pyongyang knows well the U.S. stance on the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of the North's nuclear weapons program. AP
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks before the Senate Wednesday. Pompeo, President Donald Trump's point man on North Korea, said Pyongyang knows well the U.S. stance on the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of the North's nuclear weapons program. AP
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks before the Senate Wednesday. Pompeo, President Donald Trump's point man on North Korea, said Pyongyang knows well the U.S. stance on the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of the North's nuclear weapons program. AP
Joseph Yoon, left, former U.S. point man on North Korea, speaks during a forum hosted by the Kwanhun Club, the fraternity of senior journalists, at the Korea Press Center, Friday. At right is Park Seung-hee, Kwanhun president. Yonhap

By Oh Young-jin

Joseph Yoon, U.S. point man on North Korea until early this year, has publicly explained why President Donald Trump's effort to denuclearize Pyongyang will likely fail.

But the chance is that the career diplomat, or most of the audience, didn't even know he said it.

"The North has not shown a concrete sign or evidence to denuclearize," he told a forum hosted by the Kwanhun Club, the fraternity of journalists, Friday. "If the North is serious, it should make a declaration of its nuclear weapons, sites and materials as the first step."

What Yoon said agrees with that of experts and the policy of the Trump administration regarding the North Korean problem.

This demand is perhaps like telling the North to open its underwear closet.

So there are two questions: Why would the North comply with this demand? and How can you make it do so?

As for the first question, as things stand, there is no reason, because the U.S. has given little incentive to tempt the North.

So far, the U.S. has talked philosophically about what the North can gain. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered to help North Koreans eat meat while ― less concretely ― his boss Trump offered prosperity for the North, praising Kim Jong-un for his smartness and cleverness during and after the June 12 summit in Singapore.

As Yoon said, Trump's decision to suspend ROK-U.S. joint military drills, which certainly met little resistance from pacifist President Moon Jae-in, can be counted as one incentive.

Trump's offer to withdraw U.S. troops, which Yoon also said would be another incentive, could add to the package. Kim and his now strong supporter, China's Xi Jinping, may be celebrating for successfully moving Trump in the direction they have long desired.

But then again, they may not because the drills could be switched back on with little difficulty. Having U.S. troops in Korea is related to Washington's Asia policy and withdrawing them would be a complicated process.

So these incentives are not good enough to move the North to allow an outside inspection of all things nuclear it has.

Here is a credit to Trump. He is a businessman and transactional, so obviously he has seen the necessity of the right incentives for the North, something his predecessors, who were political, failed to recognize.

Still, the North has kept Trump waiting to see what other goodies he will bring to the table. Pompeo is going to Pyongyang next week.

The chance is that Kim will press Pompeo to agree to a step-by-step formula that is very specific and concrete in terms of what both sides are to do.

The danger of this is that it can break down as Yoon said, when he compared the joint statement produced after the June 12 summit with the preceding working-level agreement that failed within 40 days.

So it would be more evident that the devil is in the details as the follow-up talks take place.

Then, how would the U.S. make the North denuclearize?

There may be three ways.

First: Build confidence with the North and convince it that without nukes the Kim regime survives and the nation prospers.

Second: Recognize the North as a nuclear weapons state and do the best damage control.

Third: The military option.

All look uninviting but they could be made less so by extending the terms by which the North's denuclearization is pursued. That way, the North Korean problem could be put in a larger context and resolved with other related issues.



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