Tillerson’s North Korea statement shows courage

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/2 22:37:24

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday that the US is not an enemy of North Korea and that "We do not seek a regime change, we do not seek the collapse of the regime, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel." He also said that China is not to blame for the current North Korean situation. Tillerson's words are in contradiction to the increasingly harsh rhetoric against Pyongyang from US authorities.

On the same day, Republican Senator and a hawk Lindsey Graham told the media that President Donald Trump had told him that he would rather go to war to destroy North Korea than allow it to develop a long-range nuclear-armed missile.

Many Americans would think Tillerson is showing weakness, but we see his statement as the most courageous expression from Washington regarding the Korean Peninsula issue.

The US has overwhelming military and political advantages over North Korea. It believed imposing pressure on Pyongyang would make it surrender. But even when the Korean Peninsula has been dragged into crisis and the outdated US military threat is no longer effective, Washington refuses to adjust its policies.

Recently, the US has piled pressure on China, treating it as a shortcut to solve the North Korean nuclear issue. But since the US military threat cannot deter North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, how can China's sanctions bring any miracles?

Washington should reflect upon its North Korea policies and make due adjustments. While it exerts pressure on North Korea, it should leave some alternatives for Pyongyang and make it believe that abandoning its nuclear and missile programs will do more good than insisting on this path.

Pyongyang cares about security the most, but the US has always refused to grant any security promises to it. Washington has never hidden its hostility toward Pyongyang. The US and its allies such as South Korea and Japan are willing to see the collapse of the North Korean regime and seem to be working to this end. North Korea's sense of insecurity is much worse than any threat the US feels from North Korea's nuclear and missile development.

Washington should show goodwill to Pyongyang, not through diplomatic rhetoric, but through sincere actions. The US and South Korea should respect the national path North Korea has chosen and help North Korea remain stable and develop its economy. When Pyongyang can feel this goodwill, it will have fewer motives to develop nuclear and missile technology.

South Korea should play a constructive role in bridging the gap between the US and North Korea. It need not worry about being marginalized once relations between the US and North Korea ameliorate.

It is difficult to build up trust between the US, South Korea and North Korea, and dismantling Pyongyang's determination to become a nuclear state can't be achieved in just one move. As long as confrontation between North Korea and the US exists, Pyongyang will not change its course on developing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the common wish of many countries. Political courage is required if they are to stick to this goal.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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