North Korea’s nuclear crisis is real, and it is threatening U.S’s foreign interests.
On October 9, 2006, North Korea performed its first nuclear test. Nations worldwide were shaken. North Korea was to be handled with caution: nuclear capabilities would pose a threat to future cooperation with different nations, including the U.S.
After North Korea’s withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2009, the country has increasingly threatened nuclear attacks upon the South Korean Peninsula.
In the 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty, the U.S. agreed to protect South Korea. The agreement still stands today, and, as such, the United States Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations needs to take action to ensure the safety of South Korea.
According to the U.S. Department of State, the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations is required “to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere.” To ease the continuous nuclear threats from North Korea, the U.S. and other countries need to lift sanctions on the nation, rather than implement stricter ones. In addition, China must form a joint approach with the U.S and revive The Six Party Talks to enforce negotiations modeled after Iran’s P5+1 agreement.
The Six Party Talks are a series of multilateral negotiations between China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, and the United States aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program. After its unfortunate disestablishment in 2008, there have been efforts from China to re-establish the organization.
The Six Party Talks should identify all the involving nations’ top priorities regarding North Korea’s nuclear crisis. Afterwards, the Six Party Talks should model itself after Iran’s P5+1 negotiations to cooperate with North Korea and identify and secure North Korea’s top priority. This action would create an opportunity to effectively negotiate to denuclearize North Korea. Of course, both the U.S and South Korea’s priority has one objective: denuclearize North Korea. For China, their priority is to keep North Korea’s regime stable.
Furthermore, the Six Party Talks must come to an agreement regarding North Korea’s sanctions. While enforcing sanctions on North Korea may seem like the best option to control North Korea’s overwhelming nuclear threats, North Korea has already been under the U.S’s sanctions for over half a century. Even The Diplomat argues, “the sanctions may well help shore up domestic support for Kim Jong-un by playing into the very successful propagandized narrative that outside powers are out to get North Korea.”
However, lifting North Korea’s sanctions to make a successful deal will be more difficult in comparison to Iran. According to USA Today, while the financial upheavals burdened Iran’s economy, North Korea has China: Xi Jinping’s government provides North Korea with crucial aid in finance, food, and energy. Therefore, in order to persuade North Korea to abide by any terms, the joint approach between the U.S and China comes into play. China must mediate between North Korea and the U.S.
In a report from the Arms Control Association, Greg Thielmann, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, said, “If proliferation cannot be reversed under current circumstances, it could at least be stopped in its tracks. The general formula employed successfully in the Iran nuclear deal—a realistic compromise solution that addresses the highest priority needs of each party—may provide a useful template”
If the U.S. Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations does not take action, North Korea’s nuclear advances will continue to compromise the safety of all citizens around the globe.