September 09, 2019 12:56
U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, in a lecture at the University of Michigan, quoted former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as warning that North Korea "will not be the last nuclear power in Asia if the international community fails" to denuclearize it. He added, "Our allies, such as South Korea and Japan, have quit their nuclear weapons programs partly because of the extended deterrence they have in their alliance with the United States." Biegun was raising concerns over the possibility of South Korea and Japan considering their own nuclear weapons if efforts to get North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons prove fruitless.
The U.S. National Defense University recently proposed that Washington should forge nuclear weapons-sharing pacts with Seoul and Tokyo. Such comments are of course primarily designed to pressure China and North Korea. But it has become obvious that these prospects are no longer pure fictions if all efforts fail to get North Korea to denuclearize. Biegun said U.S. President Donald Trump will be seeking to achieve progress in North Korean denuclearization over the next year, presumably before his term is up. Trump will have no qualms about turning hawkish against North Korea if it turns out to be an obstacle to his re-election bid.
The Washington Post reported that the U.S. State Department is considering a new approach during the UN General Assembly at the end of this month to publicly pressure North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It looks like a security crisis is approaching as U.S. patience runs out.
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