Key to Korean peace

July 27 marked the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice agreement for the Korean War, which broke out on June 15, 1950. On the Korean Peninsula, the armistice continues, but it is neither war nor genuine peace. North Korea has the key to change the situation for the better.

The prerequisite for improving the situation on the Peninsula is that the North faithfully implement past agreements produced by the six-party talks on the North’s nuclear weapons program. Only when this happens will other countries cooperate with North Korea to change the armistice agreement into a peace treaty with the United States, which Pyongyang wants badly.

In December 2012, North Korea launched a long-range rocket to put what it called a satellite into orbit, showing off its capability to build a long-range missile. In February 2013, it carried out its third nuclear explosion test.

The North announced March 11 that the 1953 Korean War armistice was null and void and declared March 30 that it had entered a “state of war” with South Korea.

These were acts of provocation that greatly deviated from the norm of the international community. They only deepened North Korea’s isolation.

In and after May, North Korea appears to have started to pursue dialogue with neighboring countries. It accepted the visit to Pyongyang of Mr. Isao Iijima, a former secretary of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and currently an aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae, director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, visited Beijing.

Pyongyang also started talks with Seoul to reopen the Kaesong industrial park in North Korea, where South Korean businesses run factories.

North Korea also started talking about resuming other dialogue forums including the six-party talks. It seeks dialogue in order to turn the armistice agreement into a peace treaty.

At present, though, there is no prospect that meaningful dialogue will be held because what the international community wants first and foremost is denuclearization of North Korea.

Pyongyang should keep in mind that unless there is denuclearization of North Korea, there will be no peace treaty. Its leadership should also recall that its military-first policy line and its isolation in the international community caused by this longtime policy made North Korea fall way behind South Korea in the economic race.

In the Sept. 19, 2005, joint statement of the six-party talks, North Korea “committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs,” while the U.S. and North Korea would undertake “to exist peacefully together and take steps to normalize their relations subject to their respective bilateral policies.” The six parties also committed to joint efforts for lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia and agreed to discuss matters at an appropriate separate forum.

North Korea must recognize that it must first implement without fail the past agreements born out of the six-party talks if it wants such a forum to be set up.

  • robertwgordonesq

    The United States holds the key, not North Korea.

    The author argues that North Korea has the key to Korean and regional peace if only the Kim Jong-un administration would abandon its nuclear weapons program.

    However, countries without a robust military defense (including nuclear weapons) usually get invaded by external forces who feel they have the upper hand militarily. For example, China by the British, Korea by the Japanese, Iraq by the United States.

    That’s just an empirical fact of history.

    The United States (and Japan) should sign a “non-aggression” treaty with North Korea, promising never to invade.

    If the U.S. and other key players make such an agreement, then there is no need for North Korea to maintain nuclear weapons as a deterrent to invasion.

    The United States currently has over 7,000 nuclear weapons, while North Korea has less than 10 (if that many). [Fn 1]

    The U.S. then has nothing to lose by signing such non-aggression pact, while North Korea seems to have everything to lose if it gave up its hedge against invasion.

    Why then put all the pressure on the North?

    —footnotes—
    [Fn 1] http://ploughshares.org/world-nuclear-stockpile-report

    • FF

      See, we get Nuclear weapons because we aren’t threatening global thermonuclear war like the North.

      • robertwgordonesq

        If by “we” you mean the United States…that country happens to be the only country willing to use nuclear weapons and has actually utilized them against arguably civilian targets.

        Pound for pound if you compare North Korea’s invasion (of other countries) record vis-a-vis that of the United States’, one would wonder just who is really a threat to whom.

        Just sayin’.

      • ff

        We have used nuclear weapons once, and it was either that, or invade Japan and face millions of more deaths. The strategic nuclear weapons we used resulted in the deaths of 200k, but saved millions of Japanese and allied lives. We used those nuclear weapons to save people in the long run, the North Koreans are threatening nothing short of global thermonuclear war. We used those weapons for defense, they are using them for offense. And also, we have been very responsible with our weapons. Name once we have ever threatened to nuke a country? You won’t be able to my misguided friend. And considering North Korea is one of the most oppressive, horrible regimes on the planet, you can’t even begin to compare them to the United States.

      • robertwgordonesq

        (sigh)

        Everyone has their excuses. “I only killed 200,000
        people” (confirmed), “But we ‘saved’ millions” (speculative).

        Nuclear weapons were used because the United
        States had them…and the Japanese didn’t.

        If that is what goes for “strategic” these days…

        If the Japanese had such a weapon, I doubt those representing the United States would have attacked.

        I am not sure how the North Koreans can threaten “global nuclear warfare” if they can’t even launch a satellite, have less than 10 nukes (maybe), and
        can’t even feed their own people.

        That’s just absurd.

        The only one who can threaten global nuclear warfare is a country that has enough nuclear weapons to threaten the world AND the capability to launch them to every corner of the globe.

        Now *that’s* a real threat.

        America used nukes for defense?

        One could argue the historic reason why Japan went to war was the aggressive meddling of Commodore Matthew C. Perry.

        Japan was minding its own business for 200 years…not bothering anybody (for the most part)
        and along comes an American saying “Open up or else!”.

        How cheeky!

        And then lobs a few cannon shot from his Paixhans guns to destroy a few Japanese buildings on shore. The man travels over 7,000 miles to terrorize the Japanese and to make Japanese waters safe for American commercial whaling!

        What allowed him to accomplish this rude, crude act of terrorism?

        Big guns. Superior force.

        The Japanese realizing this new global threat, set to arming themselves. Had Perry stayed at home,
        the Japanese might have never had the need to arm themselves so extensively and engage in a regional war of virtual self-defense and self-preservation.

        Which goes to show that as long as larger countries engage in terrorist bullying, smaller countries will feel the need to protect themselves.

        The solution?

        Stop the bullying.

        “ff” said: “Name once we [the U.S.A.] have ever threatened to nuke a country?”

        Unfortunately my friend, you are correct. I can’t name one.

        Because I can name several!

        1) Threatened to nuke China. During the Korean war (1950). General Douglas MacArthur requests 34 atomic bombs to use against the Chinese. [Fn 1].

        2) Threatened to nuke North Korea. During the Korean war (1950). See also [Fn 1].

        3) Threatened to nuke the Soviet Union (1962).
        During the Cuban missile crisis. President Kennedy threatens a “full retaliatory response” (“full” apparently includes nuclear weapons) [Fn 2] .

        4) Again threatened to nuke China (1963).
        President Kennedy considers nuclear weapons against China to defend India. [Fn 3].

        5) Threatened to use nukes against Iraq (2003).
        See [Fn 4].

        And these are only a few that we are aware of! The United States with all of its “secrets” may well have plotted other “strategic” uses of nuclear weapons.

        Note, a “threat” implies actually having the power to carry out an intention. American has that power. North Korea does not.

        “ff” wrote: “…North Korea is one of the most oppressive, horrible regimes on the planet…”

        N.Korea could just as easily say:

        “Look at the United States!. Their citizens are psychotic and murderous (See Columbine (1999), The Batman movie killer (2012), Newton Connecticut kindergarten shooting (2012), etc. [Fn 5]) The U.S. locks up minority African-Americans for 20 years for petty drug offenses, but bankers who rape public finances of millions roam the streets scott-free…this is exactly why we need to keep this murderous, rapist culture out of our country by any means necessary!”

        See, it’s just a matter of perspective on what you CHOOSE to focus on.

        Any country can be demonized.

        Anyway.

        If the U.S. has no intention of threatening or invading N.Korea, then what does the U.S. have to fear in signing a non-aggression treaty?

        “ff” said: “…you can’t even begin to compare them [North Korea] to the United States.”

        Exactly. You are absolutely correct.

        Like I said. How many countries has the United States invaded with armed force? (this web site counts almost 70 times since WWII! See [Fn 6]

        Now, how many countries has North Korea invaded? If you don’t count South Korea (which technically is their own country), the answer is ZERO. Hence, you are correct.

        There really is no comparison!

        With those kinds of statistics, who then is the real
        aggressor with an actual track record to prove it?

        So then hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husbands cause “Uncle Sam” is raping everybody out here…or so it would seem based on the objective, documented evidence.

        The only way to protect against such aggression is the threat of retaliatory force.

        So it seems N. Korea is acting quite sensible after all.

        Oh…and by the way. There is much debate on whether or not dropping nuclear bombs on Japan was really to “save lives”. Others argue Japan was already ready to surrender and dropping the bomb was unnecessary and only done to create political leverage against Russia as a demonstration of American power rather than a real effort to “save lives”. See [Fn 7]

        TTFN

        Ta-ta for now.

        ——-footnotes——

        [Fn 1] See page 2 and 3 of: http://posse.gatech.edu/sites/posse.gatech.edu/files/Nuclear%20Signaling%20and%20China%E2%80%99s%20Perception%20about%20Nuclear%20Threat%20-%20How%20China%20Handled%20Nuclear%20Threats%20in%20the%20Cold%20War.pdf

        [Fn 2] See at John F. Kennedy’s Cuban Missile Crisis speech found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLxgeINIBEM

        [Fn 3] See; http://www.indianexpress.com/news/after-the-1962-war-kennedy-contemplated-nuking-china-says-book/1049732/

        [Fn 4] See: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2003-01-27/news/0301270243_1_weapons-of-mass-nuclear-weapons-mass-destruction

        [Fn 5] See: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data

        [Fn 6] See: http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message2046501/pg1

        [Fn 7] See: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/10/the-real-reason-america-used-nuclear-weapons-against-japan-to-contain-russian-ambitions.html

      • ff

        I read everything you wrote, very impressive research, and very impressive footnotes. You certainly know how to debate with class. Now, I want to ask you a simple question. Do you honestly believe the US nuclear arsenal is a threat to world peace, even with President Obama fighting so much for non nuclear proliferation?

      • robertwgordonesq

        Thank you for your compliment.

        Well, to answer your question…(and it is a good question)…honestly…yes; the U.S. arsenal is a threat to world peace.

        And here is why.

        Simply possessing weapons like that, increases the “testosterone” level of the possessor.

        Meaning, with such overwhelming power, there is no real incentive for the United States as a political entity to negotiate or compromise with other countries.

        It can easily impose its will.

        So the danger isn’t from the U.S. nuclear stockpile itself per se. But rather from the “unequal bargaining” power it gives to the U.S. which allows it to potentially run roughshod whenever it chooses.

        Of course Russia and China are somewhat a check against that, however the very existence of the nuclear stockpile poses more of a threat to those that don’t posses them…which is pretty much 95% of the other countries of the world. Hence the threat to world peace.

        President Obama’s words notwithstanding, we have seen that regardless of what a presidential candidate promises during campaigning, the underlying policy of the United States (whoever is really pulling the strings behind the scenes) remains the same regardless of who actually becomes president as illustrated by the upscale in the drone program, targeted assassinations, secret spying (tautologous, I know), etcetera.

        Having said that, it does not mean that I am a friend of North Korea…far from it. And the American nuclear stockpile probably has greater security than most other countries. And we could argue that Americans would probably use their nukes more “responsibly” than many other folk out there. All probably true.

        However, even the most “refined” and civilized of nations can quickly slip into jingoism, barbarism, imperialism (See ancient Rome, The British Empire, Nazi Germany, Hirohito’s Japan, etc).

        To hedge against that, I think American jingoism (and the jingoism of other countries) should be tempered with honest discussion and debate. Hence my arguing the side of N.Korea in this particular exchange.

      • ff

        Interesting, if you where an American or say the President, what would to do to solve the nuclear weapons crisis?

      • robertwgordonesq

        “ff” wrote: “Interesting, if you where an American or say the President, what would to do to solve the nuclear weapons crisis?”

        I’m laughing to myself right now because that is exactly the question I predicted you would ask next…or at least, if I were you, that would be the question I would ask next. So, actually, I’ve been thinking about this.

        The short answer is:

        The crisis goes beyond North Korea and in the short term includes Iran, Israel, and Pakistan, so I’d deal with those countries first. In the long run it involves Russia, China, and India, and I would deal with those countries last. First, I’d advocate the U.S. adopt the Article 9 clause of the Japanese Constitution as a matter of national policy (i.e., forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and renounce the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes). I’d then leverage the United States’ existing military and economic power to broker agreements (non-aggression pacts) with North Korea and Iran, and encourage Israel to do the same with its neighbors. I’d restructure American interventionist foreign policy and military action from merely protecting resources to genuinely benevolent purposes, and I‘d probably be assassinated shortly thereafter on orders of some American agency for disrupting their profit and income stream which is partly based on “managed conflict” (viz., the CIA, the Pentagon, American-based weapons manufacturers, and the shadow corporate stock holders of “U.S.A., Inc.”, etc.).

        The long answer is:

        Addressing the nuclear weapons crisis is complicated as 1) it involves one’s definition of the metaphysical ideals of human existence and 2) it involves dealing with vested interests who actually profit from “managed conflict” and who have no interest in seeing genuine peace, but prefer to maintain their income and power via pitting countries against each other and profiting from weapons sales.

        A genuine solution depends on how one defines a “problem” and how one defines an “ideal”, one person’s problem may actually be another person’s ideal.

        For example, if people really believe in Darwinian evolution, the Big Bang theory, survival of the fittest and all that, then I think we may be doomed. Evolutionary ethics seems to require (or at least suggest) that a particular species dominate and or eliminate “inferior” species. If that is the reality, I think we may eventually make this planet uninhabitable, at least for those without the power and resources to protect themselves from such eventuality (i.e., the Global South) See [Fn 1].

        Eventual conflict among tribes, nations, and peoples seems to be the norm of human history. The problem that nuclear weapons pose is that now the destruction can potentially be catastrophic, total, and the toxic effects lasting much longer that the initial conflict. So we need to find a better way to get along other than military conflict.

        “Managed Conflict” is the idea that some humans are inherently (genetically) superior and that they must be served by those who are inferior. Towards that end, “inferior” groups are played off against each other, keeping them in a state of conflict so that 1) they don’t unite with each other and threaten established power interests and 2) they remain individually weak. For example, the “1%” of wealthy Americans might clandestinely foment racial divisions (e.g. through incidents like the Trayvon Martin case) to keep middle and lower class blacks and whites divided and fighting each other rather than uniting to face their common oppressor (Wall Street). Managed conflict may also take the form of secretly encouraging or allowing regional conflicts in Asia between the Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans so that Asia never unites as its own independent regional block and become an economic and military threat to Europe. They remain divided and suspicious of each other and thus prime candidates for arms sales from the West to “defend” themselves from each other. The conflict itself is beneficial to vested interests, but it is never allowed to get too out of hand (managed) to the point where the destruction outweighs the benefit. Hence one person’s problem (conflict) is another person’s ideal (those who benefit financially, socially, and politically from conflict).

        Fortunately, I do not accept or believe in such evolutionary ethics or the politics of managed perpetual conflict.

        So getting back to your question…The three nuclear hot buttons right now are North Korea, Iran, and Israel…maybe add Pakistan to that mix.

        With North Korea, I would offer a very public non-aggression treaty, present it to the United Nations, and make the case to the American people not to use military force (including economic sanctions…a type of force) as a means to resolving international disputes. In exchange North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons program, signs an official peace treaty with the South to officially end the Korean War, and the U.S. along with an international coalition promises to aid North Korea in peaceful (U.N. monitored) nuclear power development to the extent they will accept such help from the outside and wish to rely on nuclear power. Perhaps, allow South Korea to offer the assistance so that North Korea can save face and accept assistance from “their own”.

        Allow the North Korean regime to remain intact and allow Korean re-unification to occur organically via the continued cross-border interactions with South Korea occurring in North Korean territories such as at the Joint Industrial Complex in Kaesong, reopening the Mount Kumgang (Diamond Mountain) Tourist Region and Resort, expansion of the North Korean special economic zones in Rason (f.k.a. Rajin-Sonbong), Kumgangsan, and Sinuiju.

        Eventually if relations are normalized and the Demilitarized Zone (“DMZ”) decommissioned, the DMZ should remain a permanent nature preserve and tourist zone as apparently some amazing creatures have been able to thrive there due to the lack of human development. Profits from nature tourism of the zone should be shared evenly between North and South Korea with the North initially receiving an 80% share for the first 5 to 10 years and then gradually reduced 10% each succeeding five years until reaching 50%.

        Renouncing the right to attack does not mean totally withdrawing U.S. troops from the region however. Any verifiable reneging on the part of North Korea or verifiable military aggression on their part will be met with appropriate force. I say “verifiable” because there will always be someone trying to sabotage peace for their own gain, so we have to be wary of agents instigating incidents to break the accord. All such incidents should be thoroughly and impartially investigated so that we don’t assign blame where it is not due.

        Though the U.S. reserves the right to use force as defense, the U.S. should be sincere in its policy of non-aggression and of self-determination for the Koreas.

        Right now however, I believe the “secret” U.S. policy is really to “contain” China, hence North Korea provides a convenient excuse for U.S. troops to remain in the region as well as the Senkakus dispute between China and Japan.

        The real player in the North Korean dispute is China. You see neither China nor Russia are especially concerned or vocal about North Korea’s weapons development as they both use North Korea as a hedge against American influence and dominance in the region. North Korea itself is really a Red Herring.

        As the real issue is China; how can China be allowed to grow without likewise adopting the aggressive imperialist postures taken on historically by Britain, Japan, and the United States in their respective quests for empire? China has no reason to trust the West and has legitimate fears of Western incursion. If you think back to the actions of the British during the Opium Wars and the resultant unequal treaties and later invasion by Japan, I’m sure China wants to assert itself militarily as a means of self-defense. So there has to be some form of “truth an reconciliation” efforts on the part of the British, Japan and those countries who benefited from the historic exploitation of China so as to mitigate China’s quest and desire for empire and need to arm itself to the teeth. The U.S. has to lead the way in such an effort.

        Beyond China, an ultimate concern are those “interests” who benefit from managed conflict. How then to convince such people that this new peaceful path is in their interests? I don’t know as of yet. I’d have to think more about it. Just as when Yitzhak Rabin attempted to broker peace with the Palestinians via the Oslo Accords, it was one of his own people who did him in, being opposed to the terms of peace. So too a U.S. president seeking genuine peace might face similar threats from his own ranks.

        However, that would be my general approach to the nuclear crisis…but that is just off the top of my head.

        I’d of course need to do more research and refine my thinking about it.

        —footnotes—-

        [Fn 1] The global south, explanation found at: http://www1.american.edu/academic.depts/acainst/cgs/about.html
        ; and http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/List_of_Countries_by_Regional_Classification