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Moon’s Peace Process goes down the drain

Posted January. 21, 2022 07:41,   

Updated January. 21, 2022 07:41


North Korea implied on Thursday that it will revisit the moratorium on nuclear testing and ICBM firing currently in place. “The party’s politburo directed related departments to consider getting back in operation all sorts of activities that have been put to a tentative end and reviewing trust-building actions taken preliminarily and actively,” reported the North Korean state media outlet. This warning seemingly implies that it can cross the red line built between Pyongyang and Washington to suspend nuclear and ICBM tests, which was declared right before the summit talk between the two nations in Singapore in 2018.

North Korea’s moves made right on the 1st anniversary of U.S. President Joe Biden’s leadership may target discussions on North Korean sanctions scheduled to happen early this morning at the United Nations Security Council. Since Pyongyang carried out a series of provocations such as a couple of ultrasonic missiles following the onset of this year, Washington has not only declared unilateral sanctions but also proceeded with U.N.-level bans. Pyongyang’s message is no different from warning about a return to the extreme confrontation with Washington back in 2017 depending on how the Biden administration will react.

The suspension on nuclear testing and ICBM launches has played a key role in managing to maintain such a tepid standstill of today, which turned confrontation to dialogue on the Korean Peninsula. If North Korea breaks the core link of the situation, the security landscape on the peninsula will only go back to the days five years ago when Pyongyang and Washington used to exchange warnings in fury such as ‘a sea of fire’ and ‘flame and rage’ amid extreme tensions. Given that it has been more than four years since it performed the 6th nuclear test and launched the Hwasong-15 ICBM, a withdrawal from the moratorium may signal Pyongyang’s display of more potent and advanced nuclear and ICBM capabilities than before, according to experts.

Although we may need to wait and see whether North Korea will put such apocalyptic provocation in action immediately, it is expected that Pyongyang will put growing pressure on Washington while looking at how it reacts. The U.S. government is already busy finding ways to handle the power struggle with China and respond to Russia’s provocative moves against Ukraine. Nevertheless, any hasty provocative decision by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may lead Washington to take reckless countermeasures with no desired benefits in its hands. Added to this, China will not sit on its hands while North Korea runs amok right before the opening of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics considering that it has put its neighboring nation under control since their trade activities got back to normal.  

Under these circumstances, it is surely clear that the Korean Peninsula Peace Initiative devised by President Moon Jae-in is on the brink of being thwarted shamefully with only less than four months left before his term ends. Some members of the current administration still seem persistent in realizing a declaration of end of war before President Moon leaves. However, it is time to look squarely at the realities. The only way to handle North Korea is to be careful about the worst-case scenario while cooperating with the international community to find solutions.