It would seem as though Relations between the US and North Korea are worse than ever. But could that change?
By Kim Hyo-jin
Denuclearizing North Korea and signing a peace treaty with the reclusive country are not separate matters, said Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Qiu Guohong Tuesday.
“I believe that we should wisely put the topics of helping Pyongyang and Washington sign a peace treaty and denuclearizing the North together on the negotiating table,” Qiu said during a meeting with Kim Chong-in, the interim leader of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea (MPK), according to MPK lawmaker Rep. Park Gwang-on.
Stressing the importance of resuming the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, Qiu said negotiating with Pyongyang is the best way to resolve the nuclear issue.
“Beijing thinks that talks and negotiations with the country will fundamentally resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula,” Qiu was quoted as saying. “The six-party talks are the best multilateral stage and China will keep working for their resumption.” h/t koreatimes.co.kr
The Chinese are not the only ones suggesting a radical rethinking of the US approach to North Korea. Joel Wit a former negotiator for the US takes a similar tack.
The United States should increase pressure on North Korea but at the same time make clear its willingness to hold comprehensive negotiations encompassing not only denuclearization, but also a peace treaty and normalization of diplomatic relations, a U.S. expert has said.
Joel Wit, a former State Department negotiator with Pyongyang, made the suggestion in a recent policy suggestion report, stressing that President Barack Obama’s policy on the North failed to achieve any progress towards U.S. objectives in the region, and a new approach should be put together to curb the North’s nuclear and missile capabilities.
Wit, currently editor of the website 38 North, argued that the U.S. has “set the autopilot button
on a course to further isolate and pressure the North in the wake of its fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range missile test the following month.”
But such an approach will only make the situation worse, leading to “more DPRK provocations, a greater risk of conflict and instability on the Korean peninsula, the continued growth of the North’s nuclear and missile arsenal, and even new overseas sales and cooperation, particularly with Iran,” Wit said.
“To address these threats, the U.S. government needs to ratchet up pressure on the DPRK. At the same time it should make clear to the North and China that Washington is prepared to engage in comprehensive negotiations with the DPRK on a peace treaty to replace the armistice, linked to limiting, reducing and eventually eliminating the threat from North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and normalizing U.S.-DPRK relations,” Wit said. read more at koreatimes.co.kr