Could Promises of Regime Stability Bring North Korea to the Table?
On the radar: Trump open to hosting Kim Jong-Un; Giving up nukes has been done before; Talks between North Korea and the U.S. this week; 100 days of nuclear policy disappointments; Transatlantic unity needed on INF; People-to-people diplomacy in Iran
Trump welcomes meeting with Kim - “U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has told China he is open to welcoming North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a meeting in the United States if Pyongyang abandons its nuclear and missile programs, according to diplomatic sources,” reports Kyodo News. “The idea is among a set of proposals that the U.S. floated during recent discussions with Chinese officials on how best to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue.”
--“The U.S. proposals center on four promises. In return for North Korea ceasing its development of nuclear and missile technologies, the United States would not seek regime change, regime collapse or an accelerated reunification of the Korean Peninsula, nor would it look for an excuse to advance north of the 38th parallel, the de facto inter-Korean border. China is believed to have already informed North Korea of the U.S. proposals.” For the full article, click here.
See also - “Pyongyang reiterates resolve to fight against U.S.” by Yonhap News Agency here.
Giving up nukes is possible - “History shows that countries are unlikely to give up their weapons unless there's a dramatic change in circumstances, as was the case in South Africa,” writes Greg Myre for National Public Radio. “With North Korea, neither threats nor diplomacy has worked. But does the South African example hold any lessons? ‘Absolutely. No country has been compelled to give up its nuclear weapons. But countries have been convinced to do so. South Africa is the classic example,’ said Joe Cirincione, the head of the Ploughshares Fund, which works to eliminate nuclear weapons.”
--“South Africa gave up its weapons when the threat went away. Dealing with such fears is sure to be part of the equation no matter how the U.S. addresses North Korea. Daryl Kimball, the head of the Arms Control Association, said North Korea fears a U.S. attack that would topple its ruler, Kim Jong Un, and that's what's driving its push for a long-range missile that could threaten the United States… Observers say North Korea's Kim wants a nuclear arsenal so badly because he believes it'll protect him from suffering the same fate [as Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi, who gave up their nuclear programs].” Find the full article here.
Take action - Ready to restore checks and balances to the nuclear codes? Inspired by the legislation proposed by Rep. Ted Lieu and Sen. Ed Markey, Ploughshares Fund, along with sixteen other public interest groups, has created a new petition urging Congress to keep America safe by preventing any U.S. President from unilaterally launching a nuclear weapon. Sign and share the petition today.
North Korea, U.S. talk in Oslo - “North Korean officials began informal talks Monday with a group of American experts in Oslo, Norway, amid speculation that Washington may seek dialogue with Pyongyang, diplomatic sources said. It's their first Track II meeting in half a year,” reports Yonhap News. “The North Korean delegation is reportedly led by Choe Son-hui, director-general of the North America bureau chief of the communist nation's foreign ministry. Her counterpart is Suzanne DiMaggio, director and senior fellow at New America, a think tank based in Washington D.C., according to another source.”
--“This week's meeting comes amid a let-up in military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The North did not conduct a nuclear test or a long-range rocket launch in April despite a view that it may take such a provocative act to mark a series of key political events in the month. In South Korea, its people are about to pick their new president, with expectations running high over a change of mood in inter-Korean ties that have long been frosty. The U.S. State Department would not attach any special meaning to the Track II dialogue, which is held semi-regularly. But North Korea watchers took note of the timing of the meeting this time, saying it may provide the two sides with a chance for sort of ‘exploratory’ talks.” Full article here.
See also - “An Iran-Style nuclear Deal With North Korea Is The Best America Can Hope For” by Robert Litwak for The Atlantic here.
Trump disappoints on nuclear policy - “No analysis of the Trump Presidency’s First 100 days would be complete without reviewing how his administration has handled the United States’ most immediate existential threat – nuclear weapons,” writes John Tierney for The Huffington Post. “Unfortunately, much of President Trump’s approach to nuclear weapons policy has been incoherent, ineffective, or ill-informed. 100 days into the Administration, President Trump and his advisers have already made critical errors on nuclear weapons policy.”
--“Overall, the Trump Administration has produced an incoherent strategy for managing the world’s most dangerous threat. Failing to engage North Korea, abandoning the Iran nuclear agreement, destabilizing nuclear stability with Russia, and leaving key nonproliferation positions and budgets empty will all prove disastrous for global nuclear security. Let us hope that his Administration spends the next 100 days getting its nuclear policy act together.” For the full article, click here.
Europe must step up on INF - “The new Russian weapons system with the codename SSC-8 is above all a threat to Europe. The intermediate-range weapon cannot reach targets in America. But the preservation of the INF Treaty is a shared transatlantic interest,” write Oliver Meier and Steven Pifer for Brookings’ Order From Chaos blog. “Some European allies perhaps may want to give the United States more time to formulate its own position. Such an attitude would not be wise. First, it could give rise to the false impression in the Kremlin that the matter is not so important to Europeans. Second, there is a risk in waiting, because the Trump administration could eventually come to the conclusion that saving the INF Treaty is impossible or not worth the trouble—and that the agreement hinders development of new American nuclear weapons.”
--“The Europeans therefore should loudly and clearly criticize the Russian treaty violation, and by doing so, leave no doubt in the Russian leadership that the ban on land-based intermediate missiles is equally important to Europeans and Americans alike.” Full article here.
Connecting with ordinary Iranians - “US cultural diplomacy programming and other exchanges have a long history of helping to improve US relations with adversaries, from the old Soviet Union to China and the Islamic Republic of Iran. They are an inexpensive and often overlooked element of US foreign policy that brings benefits to Americans and people all over the world,” writes Barbara Slavin for Atlantic Council’s Iran Insight blog. “It is profoundly in US national interests to maintain, nurture and expand people-to-people ties with Iran.” Article here.
--“Congress passes new North Korea sanctions bill” by Hamish Macdonald for NKNews.org here.
--“Abe: Japan remains on high alert against N.Korea” for Japan Broadcasting Corporation here.
--“All of the Nasty Ways Millions Could Die if America and North Korea Go to War” by Kyle Mizokami for The National Interest here.
--“Nuclear conflict risk: Why the bomb is back” by Jonathan Marcus for BBC News here.
--“‘China has done its utmost’ on North Korea” by Cui Tiankai for USA TODAY here.
--“In a First, Japan Wants to Buy Tomahawk Cruise Missiles” by Kyle Mizokami for Popular Mechanics here.
--Former Secretary of Defense William Perry will be answering questions about North Korea and nuclear weapons in a Reddit question-and-answer session. Tuesday, May 9 at 12pm PST/3pm EST. Link will be live here at 12pm/3pm.
--“Securing a Future for the CTBT: Science and Diplomacy.” Featuring Dr. Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). Thursday, May 11, 2017, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington 20036. Details here.
--“Evaluating the Iran Deal.” Featuring Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Senior Counselor, Albright Stonebridge Group; Laura Rozen, Diplomatic Correspondent, Al-Monitor; moderated by Benjamin H. Friedman, Research Fellow, Cato Institute. Tuesday May 16, 2017, 10:00a.m.-11:30a.m. Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001. Details here.
--“Strategic Competition in Southern Asia: Arms Racing or Modernization?” Wednesday May 17, 2017. 10:00a.m.-1:45p.m. Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Ave. NW, 8th Floor, Washington D.C. 20036. Details and RSVP here.
--“Debate: Modernization of Nuclear Missiles.” Hosted by Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) and Ploughshares Fund. Featuring: Jon Wolfsthal, Christine Parthemore, General C. Robert Kehler (Ret.) and Heather Williams. Tuesday May 23, 2017, 4:30p.m.-7:00p.m. at CSIS Headquarters 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036. Details here.
--“Off-Ramps to War: Paths to Building Peace with North Korea.” Featuring William Perry and Bruce Cumings. Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Lindner Commons at George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs. Details and RSVP here.
--“The Women’s March to Ban the Bomb.” Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Saturday, June 17, 2017, 12:00p.m.-4:00p.m. Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Greenmarket, 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Details here.
--“PONI 2017 Summer Conference.” The first conference of the 2017-2018 PONI Conference Series will be held June 21-22 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Center for Global Security Research in Livermore, California. The two-day conference will feature a series presentations from emerging nuclear experts, a keynote address, tours of facilities at Lawrence Livermore, and a breakout discussion on nuclear terrorism adapted from a ministerial-level scenario that will led by Corey Hinderstein and Heather Looney from NNSA. The conference will be off-the-record. Details here.