The North Koreans want a definitive declaration of peace, not just a truce, as reassurance that they won’t be attacked and as recognition by the United States, South Korea and the rest of the world that their country is a sovereign state and legitimate power.–James Dobbins and Jeffrey Hornung, NY Times, June 8, 2017
That may be what the North Koreans want, but what does the United States want, what might the North Koreans offer, and what might the United States accept?
- Both sides are heavily armed, and that is unlikely to change.
- North Korea was recently labeled the “Axis of Evil,” said to be governed by a despot.
- Efforts to deal with North Korea in the past haven’t been notably successful.
How the two sides might agree on a peace treaty which would recognize the legitimacy of both governments, give trustworthy assurances to both countries against renewed war, and satisfy conditions long maintained as necessary by past American administrations is anything but clear. If an essential American condition is denuclearization, would the United States agree to remove nuclear weapons from Japan and the oceans in the vicinity of Korea in exchange for a parallel commitment from North Korea? Would the US military leave South Korea? Might the unfair maritime boundary imposed on North Korea be renegotiated? What else might the United States offer?
What we have seen recently is theater; we have heard nothing about the basis for agreement other than vague assurances from North Korea and boasting from our President.
(I don’t even want to think about John Bolton’s reported claim that he hopes negotiations fail so he can get on with preventative war.)