North Korean nuke deal poor option for US

By Cao Shigong Source:Global Times Published: 2013-3-7 18:33:01


Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Ren Weidong's article, "Is sudden US-North Korea rapport possible?" was published in the Global Times Monday. This story argues that North Korea will be brought in as an important ally of the US and join the US bloc to contain China in exchange for the US legitimizing North Korea's nuclear weapons.

The US Harlem Globetrotters' visit to Pyongyang last week seems to be a new favorite argument for advocates of a secret deal, but, in my opinion, the US and North Korea are just maintaining minor contact with each other.

Other than that, the slight easing of tensions on the surface has nothing to do with the essential problem, and there is no way a private deal can be reached by a basketball team.

The US will never trade the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula for the alienation between China and North Korea. As the core of the US Asia-Pacific strategy is consolidating its hegemony over the region, containing China is an important task for the US, but not the only one.

For the US, reinforcing the bond with its allies and maintaining nuclear nonproliferation have always been its two priorities, either of which would pose a threat to the "pivot to Asia" if not handled well.

However, if the price the US has to pay is recognizing North Korea as a nuclear state, which means renouncing the denuclearization of Korean Peninsula, the cost would be too high to be borne.

If North Korea's nuclear attempts were legitimized, it would pull the rug from under the global nuclear nonproliferation regime and set up another infamous example for the other countries: If North Korea can do it with threats and haggling, why cannot we?

If so, both the security of the US and its global prestige would be in great danger.

And taking into account its own interests, such as national security and the long-term goal of reunification, South Korea has been affirming its opposition against North Korea possessing nuclear weapons.

If the US disregarded South Korea's claim and made a private deal with its long-standing foe at the cost of the Peninsula's denuclearization, South Korea could completely abandon the alliance with the US and develop its own nuclear weapons.

A shrewd Uncle Sam will never make this no-win choice.

Although North Korea has been holding high expectations for the US, it still has other options instead of recklessly relying on the enemy.

Even if the private deal could be reached, it would still be uncertain whether the US, which has described North Korea as a "rogue state" and part of the "axis of evil," would trust it, and whether North Korea's significance would make the US risk being an open rival of China simply for an unreliable promise.

As one of the few friends of North Korea, China had supported the country through economic crises and political isolation, so it has to take China's reaction into serious consideration. A private deal with the US will never be an option for North Korea.

There is possibility that the US is attempting to play a dirty trick with North Korea or some North Koreans have become enchanted with the US.

However, a private deal between the US and North Korea can only be seen as a hypothetical strategy rather than a fact. This kind of argument, defaming North Korea as an ungrateful scoundrel, intends to do nothing but alienate the relationship between China and North Korea.

In the wake of North Korea's third nuclear test, some talk has started about the hopelessness and failure of denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula.

At this critical moment, these agitators who are preaching about the so-called private deal between North Korea and the US are doing nothing but stirring up an already complicated situation, blurring the goal of denuclearization, and waver the determination and solidarity of the international community. We should be as sober as possible and firmly object to such viewpoints.

The author is a researcher at the Korean Peninsula Research Society, Chinese Association of Asia-Pacific Studies.

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