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<코리아헤럴드> 박상식 / Agenda items for the South-North Korea summit

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작성자 외교협회 작성일18-06-05 15:33 조회336회 댓글0건

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[Park Sang-seek] Agenda items for the South-North Korea summit

2018-04-05 17:53

 

President Moon said that the following subjects will be discussed at the summit meeting: denuclearization of the Korean peninsula; a permanent peace mechanism on the Korean peninsula; normalization of US-North Korea relations; further development of inter-Korean relations; and North Korea-US or South-North Korea-US economic cooperation.

The denuclearization of North Korea should be the first agenda item because the other subjects are the means or incentives for the successful denuclearization of North Korea. The negotiations in the first stage should deal with the exchange of mutual demands: the withdrawal of US ground troops in South Korea (North Korea’s demand) and the total destruction of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems (US’ and South Korea’s demands). In the second stage South Korea destroys all its counter-measures against North Korea’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems, while North Korea destroys all of its nuclear weapons production facilities. Throughout the entire process of implementation, an international inspection team authorized and organized by the United Nations Security Council should validate each party’s execution of its commitments under the principle of comprehensive, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement. Another important principle for the execution of all participating parties is that no excuse for the delaying of the implementation of their commitments should be permitted. In order to prevent any kind of delay tactics, each process can be implemented according to a fixed timetable established by the international inspection team. The most difficult part of this negotiation for both the US and South Korea will be political and public opposition to their respective governments’ conciliatory moves, particularly the withdrawal of US troops from South Korea. However, we should recall that the succeeding South Korean governments since the Park Jung-hee government have been preparing for the self- sufficient defense capabilities of the ROK armed forces in preparation for US troop withdrawal. If North Korea gives up its nuclear and biological weapons, there is no reason why South Korea cannot become fully capable of securing self-sufficient military forces against North Korea.

During or after the first process of negotiations, both Koreas should negotiate with their respective allies on their commitments to extended deterrence. It is true that the US is officially committed to extended deterrence, while China has never openly stated that it provides extended deterrence to North Korea. In the new arrangements with their respective allies, both the US and China should make commitment to their allies that they will provide extended deterrence in case of a war on the Korean Peninsula on condition that both observe the principle of no first use of nuclear weapons.

If South and North Korea agree on the above two items, South Korea should ask the US to conclude a peace treaty with North Korea. Both Koreas can do the same between themselves. These bilateral peace treaties between the two Koreas and between the US and North Korea can lead to a quadrilateral treaty among the two Koreas and the US and China. This quadrilateral peace treaty can in turn lead to a broader peace maintenance system in Northeast Asia including the other neighboring big powers, Russia and Japan. When or even before the above two bilateral peace treaties are concluded, Japan can normalize relations with North Korea.

During the South-North Korea summit the South Korean leader should constantly maintain communication with the US leader and coordinate their respective policies. South Korea should anticipate that North Korea will do the same in relation to China for similar reasons.

The dynamics of the security environment in the Korean peninsula is rather complex and unpredictable for the following reasons. There are highly complex and often mutually contradicting fivefold relations among the two Koreas and China and the US: the US-South Korea alliance, China-North Korea alliance, South Korea-North Korea rivalry, US-North Korea enmity and China-South Korea good neighborly relationship. Second, China is in a position to play the role of a mediator or peace-maker but extremely hesitant to play that role because China needs both Koreas for different purposes which often conflict with each other. Perhaps, China benefits from its ambiguous behavior because China is in a position to play one off against the other or can fish among the troubled waters in the dynamic interactions among the two Koreas and the four big powers in Northeast Asia. South Korea, the US, Japan and sometimes Russia beg China to do something for peace on the Korean Peninsula but China refuses to play any active role. Sometimes Russia pursues a similar ambiguous policy because the US and Japan are still their enemies and as far as it is concerned, the cold war has not yet ended.

In view of the above, the only solution to the Korean problem is that South Korea and the US pressure and engagement policy toward North Korea and strengthen UNSC Resolution 2397. The main reason why North Korea has turned to a peace offensive from the beginning of 2018 is that the UNSC resolution has been very effective in strangulating the North Korean economy. International economic sanctions have practically blocked all the major economic exchanges between the outside world and North Korea. As a result, it has become almost impossible for the North Koreans to enjoy the minimum requirements for survival.

Now it is a high time for South Korea and the US to continue the maximum pressure and engagement strategy for the denuclearization of North Korea. In this regard, China’s acquiescent position is essential. On the other hand, the US ground troops can be gradually withdrawn from South Korea while a peace treaty to replace the Korean Armistice Agreement of 1953 is concluded. The peace treaty should be concluded between the two Koreas and endorsed by the other two war parties, US and China. It should include the provisions dealing with a peace maintenance mechanism and prohibition of weapons of mass destruction.

Park Sang-seek
Park Sang-seek is a former Chancellor of IFANS (now National Diplomatic Academy), Foreign Ministry and the author of “Globalized Korea and Localized Globe.” -- Ed.

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