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Weekend Roundup: Why New Talks With North Korea Are In The Cards

By in Huffington Post on May 19, 2017

By Nathan Gardels

North Korea’s recent launch of a missile it claims is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead — and its possible role in intercontinental cyberattacks — have upped the stakes in what is already arguably the most dangerous global crisis. Paradoxically, Pyongyang’s heightened provocations, combined with the limited arsenal of tenable responses by the international community, are pushing the relevant powers in conflict closer to talking than ever before.

Indeed, U.S. President Donald Trump has said he is willing to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. South Korea’s newly elected president, Moon Jae-in, also said in his first days in office that he is open to visiting the North under the right circumstances. Yoon Young-Kwan, a former South Korean foreign minister, writes that Moon’s policy is akin to the “Ostpolitik” approach of former German Chancellor Willy Brandt, which prepared the way for German unification after the end of the Cold War.

Top Chinese diplomat Fu Ying spells out the urgent realism that is forcing a fresh approach that departs from the sanctions plus “strategic patience” thinking that has guided the policy of America and its allies in recent years. As I write in my piece summarizing our discussion, “Madame Fu’s fundamental point is that increased sanctions or threats of military action without talks is precisely what is driving North Korea to intensify its weapons program.” Trying to outsource the problem to China won’t work, in her view, because, as I relay, “China is not a party to the antagonism and hostility that has caused the security dilemma of North Korea. The country’s deep insecurity comes from its constant fear of the kind of regime change preceded by sanctions that the United States and its allies have […]    

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