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U.S. and Chinese leaders should discuss post-Kim Jong Un era

U.S. and Chinese leaders should discuss post-Kim Jong Un era

Posted April. 14, 2017 07:27,   

Updated April. 14, 2017 07:38


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had an opening ceremony of the Ryomyong Street, his largest construction project, on Thursday, a few days before the 105th birthday of Kim Il Sung, the country’s late founder and his grandfather on April 15. Foreign correspondents who expected a nuclear or missile event when the regime asked them to prepare for a big event ended up helping propagating the reclusive regime. It remains to be seen whether Kim who set a goal of nuclear and economic development in 2013, a year after he took power, will celebrate the founder’s birthday by showing his economic achievements or conducting the sixth nuclear test or a missile launch. Only subtle changes are being felt as U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping stepped up to the plate to discuss North Korea’s nuclear issue.

President Trump said he would not designate China as a currency manipulator as the designation would make the dialogue with Beijing over North Korea’s nuclear threats difficult. Instead of taking military actions against the North, he seems to imply that Beijing should persuade or put pressure on North Korea to change. If Washington and Beijing can successfully achieve denuclearization of North Korea, there would be no need to consider a military option. However, it is still too early to say that Mr. Trump’s brinkmanship tactic which tries to change China and North Korea by escalating military tensions will prove effective.

The Chinese state-run Global Times said in an editorial on Thursday, “The first purpose of North Korea’s nuclear development is to protect the safety of its regime. With China’s help, it can achieve it even without nuclear weapons.” It advises that Kim Jong Un should be reassured and give up nuclear weapons and open up the country for reform. It is a rare advice from China, but if Kim had been interested in it, he would have given up nuclear weapons in the first place. As long as Kim believes that the regime cannot survive without nuclear development, denuclearization seems to be effectively impossible under his watch. This is why a change of the regime becomes more persuasive as a more reasonable leader in North Korea would give up nuclear weapons and missiles and open up the country to the outside world.

The North Korean nuclear issue will not be addressed even if it does not make a serious provocation. Both U.S. and Chinese leaders should have sophisticated and strategic discussions over how to address the nuclear issue and bring peace and stability to the Korean Peninsula. They can change the regime by infusing information on the free world into the North and placing economic sanctions such as cutting of oil supply to China, if not beheading Kim Jong Un. No country in the world would reject the idea of replacing the Kim Jong Un regime.