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The Only Way Forward on North Korea

So far, the US approach to North Korea has been to tighten sanctions and outsource the problem to China. But clearly a broader diplomatic approach is needed, and it should start by addressing a fundamental issue at the heart of the problem: namely, that no peace treaty has ever been signed to end the 1950-1953 Korean War.

SEOUL – Could the world soon witness another devastating war on the Korean Peninsula? That question looms large in many conversations these days.

Of course, concerns about the North Korean regime’s nuclear-weapons program are nothing new. The United States first tried to resolve the issue back in 1994, with the US-North Korean Agreed Framework; but that effort gradually collapsed, owing to actions taken – and not taken – on both sides. Then, in 2006, Kim Jong-il’s regime detonated North Korea’s first nuclear device, and put the issue squarely back on the United Nations Security Council’s agenda.

In the ensuing decade, North Korea has conducted five more nuclear tests – most recently in September – and demonstrated the technological mastery needed to develop advanced thermonuclear weapons. And, under Kim Jong-un’s leadership, the situation escalated further when the regime began making significant progress toward developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the US mainland. And this development coincided with the arrival of US President Donald Trump, who has promised a new approach to global affairs.

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