Washington needs to convince Pyongyang denuclearization is a better option

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/27 23:28:40

The US Air Force handout photo obtained on September 24 shows an Air Force B-1B Lancer getting fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker near the East China Sea, on September 18. US bombers accompanied by fighter jets flew off the east coast of North Korea on Saturday in a show of force designed to project American military power in the face of Pyongyang’s weapons programs, the Pentagon said. Photo: AFP

The US added eight North Korean banks and 26 individuals to its sanction list on Tuesday. All 26 sanctioned North Korean bank executives are living abroad at present, with 19 based in China. US President Donald Trump applauded Beijing's "recent actions to restrict its trade" with Pyongyang the same day. This has alleviated the public's worries about the possible negative effects of the new sanctions on Sino-US relations.

Whether the newly announced sanctions are in accordance with the spirit of UN resolutions is still controversial. And these measures are only supplementary to UN sanctions, and will not play a decisive role in addressing the North Korean nuclear issue.

Trump claimed that the US is "totally prepared for the second option" - the military option that is not preferred. "If we take that option it will be devastating for North Korea," he said. Washington is still posturing to overwhelm Pyongyang into denuclearization. It has sent a signal that if military actions were taken, it would be time to uproot the North Korean regime.

We're worried that Washington's rigid attitude that leaves no room for maneuver will push Kim Jong-un's regime up against the wall. As a result, a desperate Pyongyang may take all the risks to deter Washington or perish together.

Neither Saddam Hussein nor Muammar Gaddafi surrendered or made concessions in the final showdown with the US. They held out until death or arrest. The North Korean regime, with atomic bombs, is more unlikely to yield to the US.

Washington cannot leave Pyongyang with only two options: surrender or be "totally destroyed." For  North Korean leader, these two choices mean the same thing.

The international community must give North Korea a third option: a secure, dignified de-escalation. This is not a retreat for Pyongyang, but a way to lead the country to security and prosperity. The international community should make efforts to convince North Korea that suspending nuclear and missile tests and eventually abandoning its nuclear program is a more ideal choice.

While Trump is toughening up his rhetoric against Pyongyang, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis both claimed that the US has not given up its plan to peacefully address the nuclear crisis. But they have not come up with concrete measures so far. While the US has been intensifying sanctions and enhancing military options against North Korea, no detailed proposals have been put forward to peacefully settle the crisis.

Instead of coercing Pyongyang to surrender, Washington should try to attract the country away from pursuing nuclear weapons by providing it with more security benefits and convince Pyongyang that nuclear ambitions will bring it more harm than good.
Newspaper headline: US needs to convince NK why denuclearization is better


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