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Sun Dec 8, 2019, 02:24 PM

US-North Korea: Maximum Pressure Leading to Maximum Failure?

The obstacle to progress in denuclearization negotiations with North Korea is still the fundamental confrontation over the step by step method versus the all or nothing, no concessions, no trust building approach favored by US officials, and the national security establishment. Most Korea "experts" inside the beltway echo chamber just refuse to acknowledge this fundamental shortcoming in the US diplomatic approach which is first a process issue, and then secondarily a matter of great substantial importance. Either that, or they just want regime change in North Korea and can't imagine bargaining with the communist dictatorship under any circumstances other than complete capitulation by the North, often referred to as the Libyan approach.

"Sanctions have reached a point of diminishing returns. It is unlikely, therefore, that more “maximum pressure,” without a diplomatic strategy that offers Pyongyang positive inducements to negotiate steps toward denuclearization, will deliver results."
Richard Nephew

Furious Futility: Maximum Pressure in 2020
NOVEMBER 15, 2019

Town said North Korea has previously indicated a willingness to give up parts of its nuclear program as a first-phase deal, but not to discuss complete denuclearization up front.

“The North Koreans have always preferred a step by step approach rather than negotiating everything all at once,” Town said.
Jenny Town, editor of 38North.org

North Korea's U.N. envoy says denuclearization off negotiating table with United States
Michelle Nichols, David Brunnstrom Dec. 7, 2019

This is also the procedural approach favored by Russia, China, and South Korea.

SEOUL - A senior adviser to South Korea's president expressed a broad range of frustrations at U.S. policy toward North Korea, saying Washington has not adequately empowered Seoul to play a mediating role with Pyongyang.

In an interview with VOA, Jeong Se-Hyun, who advises South Korean President Moon Jae-in on unification issues, also said the U.S. should offer more incentives to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

"Don't act as if you're offering a carrot while really you are using a stick," said Jeong. "North Korea must first be given carrots. Then if that doesn't work, you use a whip."

As North Korea's Deadline Approaches, South Pushes US for Progress
By William Gallo VOA News December 01, 2019 10:04 AM

Achieving security and stability and reducing catastrophic risks on the peninsula will require intensive, expert-level negotiations and comprehensive, step-by-step implementation over many months and years. This broader effort cannot be viewed solely as a bilateral U.S.-North Korean discussion. It also must include China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia and address the security and political concerns of all the parties, including economic and humanitarian matters.

Economic, military, and diplomatic pressure helped bring the North Koreans to the table, but reaching a successful agreement will require carrots as well as sticks.
Ernst J. Moniz and Sam Nunn

Lynn Rusten and Richard Johnson with Steve Andreasen and Hayley Anne Severance, Building Security Through Cooperation: Report of the NTI Working Group on Cooperative Threat Reduction with North Korea (Washington, DC: Nuclear Threat Initiative, 2019), 2, https://media.nti.org/documents/NTI_DPRK2019_RPT_FNL.pdf. (from the forward by Ernst J. Moniz and Sam Nunn)

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