Risk Realism: The Arms Control Endgame for North Korea Policy
Dr. Van Jackson, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington
How should the current North Korea-U.S. standoff be resolved, and what is the essence of the North Korean denuclearization issue? Dr. Van Jackson, Senior lecturer in International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington, conveyed his unique view on November 21, 2019 at conference room of East Asia Foundation. This seminar was co-hosted by the East Asia Foundation and Asia-Pacific Leadership Network(APLN) for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.
Dr. Jackson argued that the approach aimed at denuclearizing North Korea makes diplomacy with the North difficult. He argued that if we are more realistic, we can manage the situations and the risks of nuclear instability better. He also said the purpose of the seminar is to make negotiations agenda which contribute to the requirement of trust-building for the security.
Dr. Jackson said that, for us, a good-faith denuclearization suggestion itself comes as a security threat to North Korea. In particular, Dr. Jackson analyzed the clustering of missile tests through the North’s missile test log, and it showed that the more pressure the U.S. pressed, the more the North Korea did missile test. And It helped to improve its nuclear and missile capabilities of North Korea. On the other words, the U.S. approach itself taken over the past three decades has led to the North’s nuclear development.
In this situation, Dr. Jackson criticized the goal of denuclearization justified the maximum pressure campaign in 2017 and emphasized the importance of diplomacy. Policy implementation without diplomacy is likely to encounter difficulties due to structural constraints, but if diplomatic diplomacy is used, negotiations can be made to mediate such structural constraints. And if we want to achieve something as diplomatic, we should suggest neutrally acceptable bargains. Dr. Jackson said it is the best scenario we wish, and even a small deal with North Korea could be a step towards North Korea’s disarmament..
Especially Dr. Jackson argued that we should give as many incentives as possible to reduce DPRK nuclear threat, as it has no reason to do things first, such as reducing the number of weapons types and declaration of nuclear inventory. This is the example: 1) stop the rhetoric denuclearization and makes diplomacy, 2) ensure the right to keep a state secret, 3) accept argument for granting North Korea status internationally. This is a complete 180 reversal the U.S. has tried with NK for the past 30 years. And there is the core of Dr. Jackson’s argument at this point: the change narratives of ‘transactionalism’. Dr. Jackson said it’s only 60% chance of success, but it’s better than the current 0% chance of success.
Finally, Dr. Jackson argued that it depends on crisis and cost management, which is possible through diplomatic means of negotiation. It also needs to consider conditions such as sanctions relief and the reduction of U.S. armed forces in Korea, and particularly he argued that sanctions relief is the most important.