The Wall Street Journal‘s Gerald Seib had a piece extolling the virtues of the Republic of Korea’s willingness to engage in formal, summit-level diplomacy with northern Korea coupled with President Donald Trump’s sub rosa willingness to talk.
There were, though, some serious misunderstandings in the article. Here are a couple:
[T]here is no way to know for sure what the North Koreans are willing to give up without testing their intentions.
Apparently Seib has been doing a Rip van Winkle impression. For the last 25 years, the northern Korean government has said they’ll never give up their nuclear weapons goals. We know for sure that what northern Korea is willing to give up is nothing.
If the North Koreans are talking rather than testing, that alone would be a positive development.
It would be, but this is incredibly naive. The northern Koreans are fully capable of talking and testing at the same time, and there’s no reason to believe they’d not continue that easy multitasking now, just as they’ve already been doing for those 25 years.
Talk, certainly. But do it in clear recognition of the fact that northern Korea will continue to test and that talking will not slow, much less halt or reverse, its drive to accumulate deliverable (and marketable) nuclear warheads.
We should keep the economic and military pressure on and increasing. We can multitask, too.