Loading...
Bless or heart, the man in the highest office cannot be trusted....

'Maximum pressure' working in Korea. Now what?

North Korea Koreas Tension-2
1 of 3

In this April 15, 2017, photo, soldiers carrying rockets march across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea. Fresh off an immense North Korean parade that revealed an arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles, rival South Korea and its allies are bracing for the possibility that Pyongyang's follow-up act will be even bigger. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

North Korea Koreas Tension-1
North Korea Koreas Tension
Loading…

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The South Korean government on Tuesday announced an apparent diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea: agreement by the government of Kim Jong Un to discuss dismantlement of its nuclear program with the United States, and to suspend further warhead and missile tests while talks continue.

If confirmed by the Pyongyang regime, the shift of position would mark a success for the Trump administration's policy of applying "maximum pressure" to North Korea and open the possibility of a needed reduction of tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The question is whether President Donald Trump is prepared to capitalize on the opportunity.

Trump greeted the South Korean announcement appropriately: positively, but with caution. He spoke of "possible progress" while saying the United States "is ready to go hard in either direction." The surprising announcement by the dovish South Korean government of Moon Jae-in still must be vetted; the Kim regime has not publicly confirmed what would be a reversal of its refusal to discuss its nuclear program, a position it reiterated as recently as last Saturday.

If North Korea is indeed ready to talk, most likely its aims are short-term and tactical: to win an easing of international sanctions and renewed economic concessions from South Korea, or to drive a wedge between the allies. In past rounds of negotiations, beginning in 2005, Pyongyang promised steps toward denuclearization, then reneged once it had obtained economic relief.

Remarkably, Kim reportedly accepted in talks with a South Korean delegation over the weekend that upcoming U.S.-South Korean military exercises would go forward. But most analysts believe the regime's ultimate aim is to force a U.S. withdrawal from South Korea.

The reported offer nevertheless provides an opening that Trump should seek to exploit. It indicates that the tough new sanctions the administration succeeded in pushing through the U.N. Security Council, and that it applied on its own, have put real pressure on the regime.

Even if talks led only to a sustained suspension of what has been an unprecedented sequence of North Korean nuclear and missile tests — which have brought the regime to the brink of deploying a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States — that would be progress. For the United States, the challenge would be achieving that more stable status quo without prematurely relieving pressure on the regime.

It's not clear whether the Trump administration is ready for this diplomatic challenge. Its expectations for talks, at least as publicly expressed, are unrealistic: It's unlikely the Kim regime will ever agree to fully denuclearize, or even to take the verifiable steps toward denuclearization that the administration has demanded.

It doesn't help that Trump does not have a Korea team in place: no ambassador to South Korea; no confirmed State Department assistant secretary in the region; no special envoy.

A good first step in response to Tuesday's developments would be for Trump to fill those jobs with seasoned experts. Then he should set them to work devising a serious and pragmatic strategy for engaging with the Kim regime — without sacrificing, for now, "maximum pressure."

The Washington Post

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

September 25, 2018

The ongoing debate over guns in America has led some to vociferously call for abolishing the Second Amendment.

That’s just not wise thinking.

There are common-sense restrictions on guns that fall within the scope of the Second Amendment.

So there’s no need to even consider abolishing it.…

Gun Rights Rallies-2

September 24, 2018

We have seen the worst of nature and the best of mankind. We have seen actions that make “rising to the occasion” a breathtaking understatement. And we have seen the terrible power of an intense storm unleashed across our own region and more than half of our state. There may not be…

Tropical Weather Florence North Carolina-6

September 21, 2018

Senate Republicans found themselves politically cornered Monday as they considered what to do about the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. That nomination is suddenly in jeopardy thanks to a credible accusation from a California woman, Christine Blasey Ford, that Kavanaugh sexually…

Supreme Court Kavanaugh Politics

September 20, 2018

Earlier this summer, Robert Runcie, the superintendent of schools in Broward County, Florida, sent a back-to-school message to the "families and community" of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

His missive mentioned nothing about teachers or books or curriculum. Instead it went on for four pages…

Florida School Shooting 911 Calls-5

September 19, 2018

Hurricane Florence has lingered over North Carolina. The storm’s initial rain, high winds and storm surge-flooding has been followed by even more rain, swollen creeks and rivers along with impassable roads from interstates to neighborhood drives.

Cities like Wilmington — not merely…

Tropical Weather North Carolina-4

September 18, 2018

"The youth use of e-cigs is rising very sharply," Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Wednesday, as he issued the federal government's most forceful warning yet that these electronic nicotine-delivery devices are hooking a generation of teenagers. He promised that…

Flavored Vaping Sales Ban

September 17, 2018

America shouldn’t be in the coup business. Period.

It’s a relief, then, to learn that the Trump administration chose not to aid rebellious leaders in Venezuela seeking to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro. But it’s worrisome to think that President Trump and his advisers…

Venezuela Nicolas Maduro

September 14, 2018

Over the past few decades, there has been a proliferation of criminal statutes and regulations carrying criminal penalties at the federal level. As Congress debates criminal justice reform, mens rea reform should be on the table.

For years, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has introduced and called for…

Trump Finance-3

September 13, 2018

It is tremendously sad and horrific to think about the forthcoming disaster and what it could bring to our communities and our neighbors to the south. We did nothing, really, other than live like we always have, to bring this on ourselves. Nevertheless, it is here.

Hurricane Florence, a major storm…

091218Sandbagging-4.jpg

September 12, 2018

You can add the name Jordan McNair to the list of college, high school and middle school players who might have needlessly died for the love of football.

A simple, well-known procedure — immersing McNair, 19, in a tub of ice water — when he collapsed at an off-season University of…

082918ECUFootball-5.jpg
102 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 11
        Next Page»   Last Page»