S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) Journal of International and Area Studies Journal of International and Area Studies vol.25 (2018)
Beyond Optimism and Skepticism about North Korean Denuclearization: A Case for Conditional Engagement
- Park, Cheol Hee
- Issue Date
- Institute of International Affairs, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University
- Journal of International and Area Studies, Vol.25 No.2, pp. 107-125
- South Korean President Moon took a bold initiative to establish peace on the Korean peninsula while denuclearizing North Korea. Though negotiations with North Korea are on the move, controversy about how to deal with North Korea never ends. Optimists argue that Kim Jong Un has made up his mind to give up nuclear weapons and concentrate on economic development They argue that, though slow and conditionally, North Korea is reciprocating to the US and South Korean demands. Thus, optimists take a position of ‘trust and engage.’ On the other hand, skeptics argue that North Korean goals have never changed and that Kim Jong Un will never give up nuclear weapons. What they are trying to do is delay, deceive, and buy time for nuclear enforcement. Skeptics take a position of ‘coerce and verify.’ This paper takes a position that we had better test Kim seriously and push to the limit until his ultimate decision can be discerned. Engagement is a viable option than other alternatives like dovish engagement, strategic patience, coercive sanctions, or war. However, there is a proper way to engage North Korea, what the author calls ‘conditional engagement.’ ‘Engage and verify’ should be a principle of conditional engagement. Tough and strict conditionalities should be attached to engagement. If you follow this position, negotiating with North Korea should be tougher and more principled.
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