YEARS of diplomatic moves were tested by US to refrain North Korea on developing Nuclear Weapons and its proliferation. Multiple ways, inclusive of economic sanctions, diplomacy, negotiation and non-proliferation strategies, and use of military campaigns with US allies in the region, however couldn’t prove successful in preventing North Korea in adopting a nuclear path. On August 05, 2017, UNSC unanimously adopted the most stringent sanctions against North Korea over its persistent defiance for testing nuclear missiles. Recently N Korea has successfully conducted ICBM which have capability to target US continent.
The dangers involve with the North Korean Nuclearisation is that it would un-balance the regional power status quo. With South Korea located at 38th parallel, would be at greatest threat of North Korean Nuclear missiles .For that, US is compelled to remain its forces stationed in South Korea to safeguard it. This fact is increasing burden on US national defence budget. Other than South Korea there is Japan, which is a close ally to the United States and would be at target of North Korea after South Korea. China is another major stakeholder which can play its role by abatting Pyongyang’s nuclear threat. US have always pressured China to resolve the issue of N Korean nuclear program.
The question arises, what refrained China? Its China’s strategic interests. China is a sole patron for N Korea in provision of 50% of its food and 90% of its fuel. Once China cuts its support for N Korea, it would become easy to topple Kim Jon Un regime. But what happens, when N Korean regime collapses, there would be millions of refugees on China’s border, with the unification of North Korea to South Korea, China will have another US ally across the border, with 30000 US forces and above all with 50 nuclear weapons. US also has a nuclear treaty with South Korea, which a unified Korea would inherit. No doubt, these strategic interest needs to be addressed by US at high level, if US wish to resolve N Korea issue. For that, US must assure China, that it will withdraw its forces from Korea after its unification and N Korean nuclear would be dismantled at earnest. US must also reincarnate new treaty with Korea after its unification to expunge ramifications of old nuclear treaty with South Korea.
With the number of event penned down in the history to prevent North Korea from developing Nuclear Weapons, there was also a period of successful negotiation among US and North Korea in 1994.North Korean under Agreed Framework froze its illicit plutonium weapons program and in return US agreed for soft sanctions and provision of Civilian Energy to increase its productivity. However, the chances of increased goodwill among two states withered away at times when USA failed to build Nuclear Reactors in N Korea with change of Administration. North Korea felt betrayed and ended its membership in NPT in 2003. In 2006, Six Party Talk began and witnessed a breakthrough. This move by all six states were forwarded as good will to reckon a fresh start. In 2009, however North Korean government didn’t ratify its NPT membership and returned to the path of Nuclearisation. With the current Administration in US threatening call for Fire and Fury, has broiled the issue at a level where North Korea lashed back for an attack on Guam through ICBM. N Korea allude that if US administration does not change their rampant rhetoric towards N Korea by mid of August, it would suffer serious consequences. According to CNN report 56 bn $ had been spent on military missions to strengthen their hold across the globe. As once stated, there is always a reaction to an action. Increase in defence budget spending, threatening calls to North Korea by Trump Administration is merely adding fuel to the fire.
In 2007, the then secretary of US said in his lecture that “ one of the important lessons of war in Afghanistan and Iraq is that military success is not sufficient to win”, he further articulates that to bring democracy in any state required a chain of developments in the constitution of the state. It requires economic development, institution building and good governance and that comes to foreign aid. The aggressive US policies towards North Korea is also not reflecting the true sentiments of the American people and State Secretaries as Robert Gates said, “ there are more people in military bands than we have foreign service officers.” This signals that how lack of diplomatic tools on both parts i e North Korea being run by a tyrant leader and US elected governments till date are creating sea gaps in developing good ties with each other. Same rationale applied to North Korea. US needs to accelerate its diplomatic efforts to live up to the expectations of North Korean government. Sticks alone would not produce fruitful results, this time change of strategy to carrots may help to achieve peace between the US and North Korea.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.