Compromise to win

Compromise to win
South Korean President Moon Jae-In has stated that both North Korea and the United States have to be willing to compromise in order to enter talks to discuss a solution..

South Korean President Moon Jae-In has stated that both North Korea and the United States have to be willing to compromise in order to enter talks to discuss a solution for the current nuclear impasse. 

In the recent weeks both North and South Korea have engaged in breakthrough talks in a bid to seek a peaceful resolution.

Background

The Korean peninsula was divided post World War II in 1945. In 1950, North Korea, supported by China and Russia, invaded South Korea. The United Nations and US forces intervened on behalf of the South and the invading army was driven out during the Korean War. The two nations signed an armistice in 1953, however, there has been no peace treaty and they are technically still at war. South Korea currently houses over 25,000 American soldiers as a part of the United States Forces in Korea (USFK).

While South Korea opened up its market and instituted a system of democracy to become one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world, the modern nation of North Korea exists in self-imposed isolation. It runs on a totalitarian system under the dictatorship of Kim Jong-un.  In recent years, the North Korean nuclear programme has become a source of concern for the US and the international community, resulting in UN-imposed sanctions.

In 2017, North Korea has launched 22 missiles in the span of 15 tests. It has increased its military activity since July of 2017 when it tests launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). In August 2017, North Korea flew two missiles over Japan. The nation called it the “first step” in its Pacific operations. In September 2017, the nation has conducted its sixth nuclear test to date. As a result, the UN has issued multiple sanctions on the nation in a bid to cripple the nation economically and force it into negotiations.

However, in a surprising turnabout, in January 2018, North Korea signaled its intent to participate in the Winter Olympics. The games, which commenced on February 9th, displayed a rare show of unity between North and South Korea. Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un was present at the opening ceremony and shook hands with South Korean President Moon Jae In. She later even invited the South Korean President to visit North Korea – an unprecedented move.

 

Analysis

On February 23rd, 2018, US imposed yet another round of sanctions on North Korea. US President Donald Trump said that if the sanctions didn’t work on North Korea, then the next phase would be “very unfortunate for the world”.

When asked to comment about the sanctions, Trump told reporters, “We’ll have to see. If the sanctions don’t work we’ll have to go phase two. Phase two may be a very rough thing. It may be very, very unfortunate for the world.” He added, “It really is a rogue nation. If we can make a deal it will be a great thing. If we can’t, something will have to happen.”

He has also spoke at an earlier about the sanction noting, “Today I am announcing that we are launching the largest-ever set of new sanctions on the North Korean regime.” He also noted that the nation’s Treasury department “will soon be taking action to further cut off sources of revenue and fuel that North Korea uses to fund its nuclear program and sustain its military”.

Meanwhile, South Korean President has stated that both North Korea and United States have to compromise in order to begin talks to discuss a resolution for the nuclear stand-off. America has earlier stated that it will only enter discussions if North Korea completely de-nuclearizes.

North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol has noted that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wanted to improve ties with Washington and had "ample intentions of holding talks". However, North Korea has also condemned the latest round of sanctions.

“We will see if Pyongyang’s message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization,” the White House said in a statement. “In the meantime, the United States and the world must continue to make clear that North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are a dead end,” it said.

In the recent days, President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump also visited South Korea and briefed authorities there regarding the nuclear stand-off between US and North Korea.

Assessment

Our assessment is that the only way to resolve the crisis in the Korean peninsula without resorting to military conflict is through diplomatic dialogue. De-nuclearization is likely not an option that North Korea will be willing to broach as Kim Jong Un is concerned about sharing the same fate as the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. It is only through compromise that diplomatic breakthroughs are possible and it should be considered seriously by both nations. 

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