The United States must accept a fundamental reality: the policy of forcing the Kim regime to relinquish its nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief is untenable. It is no closer to achieving results than it was in 2010, even while the DPRK produces long-range missiles and plans to develop tactical nuclear warheads. The failure of trade sanctions exhibits the need for a new strategy to deal with the DPRK and its nuclear arsenal. Therefore, the United States should use multilateral talks to negotiate incremental deals that produce tangible results and build trust. Put simply, an enforceable security guarantee, achieved through mutual peace declarations, will help normalize the DPRK’s international relations so that it can undergo economic reform and emerge as a legitimate global partner. Such measures are more likely to attain results that all partners can agree on and could, at a minimum, result in a moratorium on future nuclear production and development. Only then can talks of the DPRK’s complete denuclearization be possible.
The views and opinions expressed or implied in JIPA are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents.