Northern Korea and Talks

Jonathan Cheng had a piece in the Wall Street Journal that talked about differences in policy held by RoK President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump, especially concerning northern Korea.  He seemed surprised that friends or allies could disagree with each other rather than one simply being a satrap of the other.

Withal, though, I want to comment on one remark he had at the end of his piece.

[Moon suggested that] the end goal of international pressure and sanctions is to “find a way for North Korea to live together in peace with the international community”—a comment that appears at odds with the US goal of denuclearization.

Cheng is wrong; there is no contradiction. If northern Korea truly is interested in “living together in peace and harmony with the international community,” it has no need of nuclear weapons. No one is interested in attacking northern Korea, except in self defense, perhaps preemptively.

Northern Korea doesn’t have very much that anyone else wants, and what it does have is more easily and more cheaply obtainable through free trade than through conquest. Baby Kim knows this.

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