US-NKorea nuclear diplomacy Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

La Corée du Nord et le leadership américain

DENVER – Ce mois-ci, la Corée du Nord a passé quelques semaines sans lancer de missiles ni faire d'essais nucléaires. Ce court intervalle, à présent terminé, a suffi pour inspirer au Secrétaire d'État américain Rex Tillerson une déclaration selon laquelle le dirigeant nord-coréen Kim Jong-un faisait preuve de « retenue ». Peut-être que Kim est prêt à engager le dialogue, en a conclu Tillerson. Dans une certaine mesure, il a peut-être raison.

Il ne fait aucun doute que les déclarations selon lesquelles que le Nord a fait preuve de retenue étaient clairement prématurées : la Corée du Nord a depuis tiré trois missiles balistiques à courte portée depuis sa côte Est vers la mer. Plus inquiétant encore, la Corée du Nord a lancé un missile balistique vers le Nord du Japon. L'optimisme de Tillerson à propos d'une si courte pause reflète la pression à laquelle sont confrontés les diplomates chargés de rassurer les alliés (et dans le cas de Tillerson, son patron le Président Donald Trump), en vue d'apaiser les tensions avec les ennemis.

Néanmoins Tillerson a probablement raison de dire que la Corée du Nord est prête à discuter avec les États-Unis - mais seulement d'égal à égal, comme un État doté d'armes nucléaires face à un autre. Les dirigeants du pays ne sont manifestement pas prêts à répondre à l'exigence des États-Unis, d'après laquelle les négociations se fondent sur les engagements internationaux pris en 2005, à la fin du quatrième cycle de Pourparlers à six.

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