Avatar of admin


Why Washington Needs a New North Korea Strategy

July 9, 2014 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

North Korea has imprisoned one American since 2012 and announced its intention to try two other U.S. citizens recently arrested for “perpetrating hostile acts.” Having no diplomatic relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Obama administration cannot even inquire as to the prisoners’ welfare, but instead must rely on Sweden, which acts in Washington’s stead. The United States should create official ties with the DPRK.

Countries have long used diplomatic relations as a weapon, even though recognition confirms geopolitical reality, rather than validates government policy. A state cannot be wished away even if it is controlled by unpleasant, distasteful or antagonistic forces. When issues between nations arise, it is usually best if the governments talk to each other. And that is easiest done if they both have diplomats in each other’s countries.

Nevertheless, politics has long dominated diplomacy surrounding the Korean peninsula. Washington and Pyongyang have never recognized each other. South Korea and Japan also do not have relations with the North. Throughout the Cold War, the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China did not recognize the Republic of Korea. (For most of that time, the PRC and United States also did not officially talk.) One longstanding proposal to break the diplomatic deadlock was “cross-recognition,” by which everyone would recognize everyone. The United States, Japan and the ROK would establish ties with North Korea, and the USSR, PRC and North Korea would open diplomatic relations with the South.

Washington should engage diplomatically with the Pyongyang.”

The end of the Cold War delivered the last half of that deal. Russia went first, followed by China, Pyongyang’s most important ally. Two decades later, the allied powers still have not formally acknowledged North Korea’s existence.

America, the ROK and Japan see the DPRK as an enemy state. No treaty has replaced the armistice that ended the fighting. The North is building nuclear weapons, developing long-range missiles, conducting a confrontational foreign policy and violating human rights. For the allies, the bill of particulars is long.

But it is also one that largely applied to the Soviet Union, with which Washington maintained official ties throughout the Cold War, and the PRC, with which the Nixon administration opened relations while downgrading its close relationship with Taiwan. Both of these communist giants were at military odds with America, engaged Washington in real or proxy wars, battled the United States diplomatically and ran gulag …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.