US Intends To Have Denuclearization Dialogue with North Korea, South Korea Must Prepare

A White House national security officer has said, “[W]e are … going to consider interim steps on that pathway to denuclearization, provided that these steps will make the region and the world safer.” Mira Rapp-Hooper, the special assistant and senior director for East Asia and Oceania at the White House National Security Council, said at the JoongAng Ilbo- Center for Strategic and International Studies Forum four days ago, “The United States remains committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” and “We are ready and willing to engage in discussions with the DPRK about threat reduction, especially currently in light of the situation on the Korean peninsula … the United States will continue to work closely with our ROK allies and with the wide variety of other partners to pursue greater and more regularized communications with the DPRK, particularly on military deconfliction and de-escalation activities, and other stabilizing exchanges that could reduce the risk of misperception and inadvertent escalation on the peninsula.” This reflects the possibility of phased negotiations in which the U.S. will take appropriate steps to freeze or reduce North Korea’s nuclear weapons before complete denuclearization.

When the U.S. negotiated with North Korea in the past, it established a system of taking intermediary steps, and considering that dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea will likely continue in this manner in the future, Rapp-Hooper’s statement is not surprising. It is unlikely that conversations with North Korea will be in full swing before the U.S. presidential election in November. In this regard, the remarks seemed to have originated from an intent to reduce rising tensions throughout the Korean peninsula, which have been heightened recently due to the intense confrontation between North and South Korea. Nevertheless, notably, this is the first time a White House official from the Joe Biden administration has spoken on the issue. No matter who the next president will be, the U.S. is feeling the need to negotiate with North Korea, and the core of that dialogue is how to realize the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and peacebuilding.

Having already declared its nuclear armamentation, North Korea it has begun to restore relations not only with friendly nations such as Russia and China but also with Japan and Germany. Recently, the United Nation’s resident coordinator in North Korea, who was evacuated after the COVID-19 pandemic, has agreed to return to Pyongyang. There is a calculation behind North Korea’s actions to shed its isolationism and make its status as a nuclear power an indisputable fact. The more time passes, the more the international community’s sanctions on North Korea are slowly being relaxed. The longer the intervention of the U.S and South Korea continues, something that North Korea is closing the door of dialogue on, the more North Korea can solidify its status as a nuclear power.

I hope that the U.S. and North Korea will engage in substantial denuclearization talks as soon as possible as the National Security Council official stated. Yoon Suk-yeol’s government must also make thorough preparations. If we remain complacent in believing that ‘North Korea cannot go to Tokyo or Washington without passing through Seoul,” as Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho said, it may get serious. All foreign affairs and security ministries must consider how to achieve denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and take the initiative in communicating with the countries that are affected.

About this publication

About Krystal Endo 12 Articles
Hello! My name is Krystal and I've been studying Korean for almost 10 years now. My Bachelors is in Linguistics, with a Minor in Korean and TESOL. I currently live with my husband, 2 cats and 2 snakes. I'm excited to translate for Watching America!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply