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Perhaps It’s Time for South Korea to Go Nuclear

February 14, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un plays the international game with
style. He sent his sister, Kim Yo-jong, to the Olympic games in the
Republic of Korea. And he extended an invitation for South Korea’s
President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang. It’s impossible for the
ROK leader to say no.

Unsurprisingly, the Trump administration isn’t happy. Even
before the North’s dramatic move, Vice President Mike Pence
demonstrated his great displeasure at the North Koreans’ presence
in the Olympics, which he called a “charade.” Then, the refused to
stand when Pyongyang’s athletes entered the stadium and studiously
ignored the presence of not only Kim Yo-jong but also the North’s
nominal head of state Kim Yong-nam (no relation). Had Pence
approached them with his hand outstretched he would have grabbed
the initiative for the Trump administration. But instead he refused
to even glance in the North Koreans’ direction, as if doing so
would make them disappear.

Of course, there is no reason to believe that Kim Jong-un has
decided to mend his evil ways and abandon nuclear weapons, respect
human rights, hold elections, and accept unconditional
reunification. But the North Koreans really didn’t use their
participation “to paper over the truth about their regime, which
oppresses its own people & threatens other nations,” as Pence
tweeted before leaving for Korea. After all, lots of thuggish
dictators, including several proclaimed to be “friends” by
President Trump, sent delegations, without much affecting their
reputations.

Since none of Pyongyang’s
attitudes or positions have changed, there is no reason to believe
that it is willing to offer anything more of value.

Pyongyang’s grand gestures were aimed less at Seoul and more at
the Trump administration. After all, the two Koreas have fielded
joint sports teams before, most recently in the 2014 Asia Games,
without lasting impact. Moreover, the last two leftish ROK
presidents held summits with Kim Jong-il, the father of the present
ruler — many missile and nuclear tests ago. Along the way
Pyongyang collected some $10 billion in aid and other revenue as
part of the “Sunshine Policy,” without yielding peace. The regime
is focused on self-preservation.

Officials in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea told me
they had no intention of being “swallowed” by the South. But South
Korea does not threaten Pyongyang’s security. Last summer my North
Korean interlocutors dismissed the ROK as a “puppet” of America. In
truth, while the South is a vibrant democracy with one of the
world’s largest industrial economies, it has subcontracted its
security to the U.S. The American military even has operational
control over South Korean forces in wartime. And all the “big guns”
are in Washington’s hands.

Moreover, the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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