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North Korea: peace at last?

April 30th, 2018 | by Joe Holloran
North Korea: peace at last?
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The world awoke to some rare good news about North Korea in mid-April when the story broke that the North was willing to talk disarmament with the USA and the South at a special summit held between the three countries. The US administration took this as a sign that their own Supreme Leader’s strategy (one so complex and nuanced not even Wittgenstein could figure it out) on North Korea was working. In the UK however, the mood was understandably more sceptical. So, what does this mean going forward, and how do we avoid these stand-offs in the future?

Many experts’ who have direct experience dealing with North Korea warn that this move is an act of gamesmanship by the North’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, who seeks only to have the economic sanctions lifted, but has no intention of ever giving up his nuclear arsenal. The three generations of Kims have dedicated themselves to creating a nation built around two things: an unbridled hatred of the USA, and the need to militarize the population into a state of paranoid, nationalist-fuelled, citizen-warriors. Given this environment, any overtures of attempted productive engagement with the West must be treated with upmost suspicion. The only future acceptable to the West regarding North Korea must be one where the Kim dynasty is removed, the state de-militarizes and North Korean state operatives responsible for the deaths of millions of citizens are brought before The Hague.

The situation is unique, and requires long-term diplomatic, economic and tactical planning if it is to be resolved

This will almost certainly not happen. The reason is simple: China. China want the sanctions on the North lifted, and these talks may do that. However, China feel that they need a strong ideological ally in the Far-East to protect itself from the Western backed states of South Korea and Japan. This mind-set is the problem. It comes from the Cold War, which appears to be raising its ugly head again. If there is to be any true progress on North Korea, then China must accept that it must relinquish its influence.

The situation between North Korea, South Korea and the USA are unique, and requires long-term diplomatic, economic and tactical planning if it is to be resolved. These potential solutions are beyond the mind of a mere undergrad opinion-flogger. Future tensions will be based largely on how Western nations act in the build up to any potential issues. We would all prefer diplomacy to win the day, but this is not always a possibility. The time may come when the United Nations must decide what it is willing to defend, and what price will have to be paid in order to achieve this.

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