Wednesday, 19 May 2021 -
With sights set on the South Korean president's visits to Washington later this week, Moon Jae has already hinted to Biden that diplomatic engagement with Pyongyang is the way forward to denuclearization. In an interview with the New York Times, he appeared to urge the U.S president to engage North Korea because options are running out. And ahead of Moon's crucial meeting with Biden, we look at what's to come in the long-standing denuclearization row with North Korea.
Pyongyang’s Nuclear Threat
The nuclear threat posed by the North continues to grow. However, it is increasingly likely that the task of stripping Kim’s nukes will become even more difficult. And despite decades of threats, diplomacy, sanctions, and the Trump administration’s P.R summits, the North continues to commission more missiles and nukes that can hit the U.S mainland.
And last week, for instance, an unnamed source from the Rand Corporation and the Asian Institute for Policy Studies (RCAIPS) said the world should expect the North to accumulate more than 200 nuclear weapons before the tip of this decade. The source further indicated that the chance of the North abandoning its nuclear program is almost zero.
What Now for The Biden Administration?
Going forward, and as already alluded to by Moon Jae (South Korea president), what is left for Washington to do is go back to the negotiating table with Kim. Biden, who has adopted a non-confrontational approach with North Korea thus far, has hinted to diplomacy in recent months. And that's despite the North's most recent missile tests, albeit short-range.
And while diplomacy is arguably the best option right now, a source close to Washington has revealed the administration has somewhat accepted the reality that the ship to denuclearization has probably sailed. And what is left to salvage would be achieved by making deals on issues such as alternative weapon systems and proliferation.
Having lived through sanctions and threats amid diplomatic efforts, there is a growing sense that engagement with North Korea is the perfect strategy. And the U.S foreign policy diplomats are calling for diplomacy with the North not to be delayed any further because denuclearization is a subject of survival.
Kim’s Nuclear Capability
For years now, the World has underestimated the North’s ability to develop the world’s most deadly nuclear arsenal. And while that is arguably true, some of Kim Jong Un’s weapons can target the continental U.S. And this continues to surprise many considering the country's long-standing sanctions.
But experts have argued that global sanctions can only achieve more, which is why going back to the negotiating table seems the best and timely choice, especially now that the North is reopening and Kim has shown commitment to the North’s post-pandemic economic recovery. On the contrary, some experts have suggested a greater military pressure, coupled with international sanctions could be the best way to deal with North Korea.