New Blueprint Is Needed for Dealing with N.Korea

      May 29, 2009 09:07

      U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday strongly criticized North Korea, saying the communist country continued to behave in a provocative and belligerent manner toward its neighboring countries, and warned that such behavior would lead to consequences, reminding Pyongyang of the sanctions the United Nations Security Council is discussing. Clinton said the intention of the U.S. government was to get North Korea to live up to its responsibilities and return to a framework of denuclearization. In that case, Clinton said, North Korea would be rewarded.

      U.S. President Barack Obama and Clinton hope to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program through dialogue and negotiations. North Korea has flagrantly challenged Obama's grand plan to create "a world without nuclear weapons" by conducting its second nuclear test. Unless North Korea's nuclear weapons program is halted, Obama's plans to eradicate nuclear weapons will end up becoming an empty promise.

      However, the Obama administration has yet to produce a blueprint detailing its plans on how to resolve the North Korean nuclear dilemma. That dilemma, which first surfaced when North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1993, was unable to be resolved during eight years under the Clinton administration and another eight under the Bush administration. If the U.S. government wants to succeed in resolving the North Korean nuclear problem, a few elements must be reflected upon when establishing the blueprint. 

      First of all, the U.S. government must formulate a clear list of rewards North Korea would receive if it complies with the wishes of the international community as well as a list of punitive measures it would face if it does not. During the six-party talks and other dialogues with North Korea, a variety of rewards have been offered, including normalized diplomatic relations with the United States and economic support. However, the consequences North Korea would face should it refuse to abandon its nuclear weapons program have rarely been discussed.

      Secondly, international cooperation must be strengthened so that China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and other countries can participate in such rewards and punitive measures. The U.S. government must focus its diplomatic efforts on ensuring that China and Russia do not sit on the sidelines if punitive measures must be imposed on North Korea. This cooperative relationship could develop into a useful network, not only in resolving the North Korean nuclear problem, but also in helping to promote security on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia.

      Thirdly, a solution must be devised that continues beyond the current presidential terms of the United States and South Korea. Over the last 16 years, the United States has seen a democratic government change to a republican one and back again. In South Korea, five years of conservative leadership was followed by a decade of liberal rule before returning to a conservative government. This has affected the South Korea-U.S. alliance and necessitates the creation of a new blueprint for dealing with North Korea.

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