The startling revelations about massive U.S. surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency emerged in early June just as President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping were about to begin their informal summit meeting where cyberespionage was high on the agenda. While the Obama-Xi summit succeeded on several levels, the two leaders made no discernible progress on cyber… Read more »
Topic: nuclear weapons
This week’s summit meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama offers a historic opportunity to improve U.S.-China relations – but only if both sides frankly discuss the critical issues now dividing them and lay the basis for an ongoing process of mutual threat reduction. Fortunately, there is one major area where the two leaders… Read more »
China’s decision in late January to back the United States in expanding UN sanctions against North Korea underscores the value of improving U.S.-China relations in President Barack Obama’s second term and opens a new avenue for more effective diplomacy to counter Pyongyang’s weapons programs, following its nuclear test in flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
North Korea’s recent decision not to retaliate for South Korean military exercises creates a new opening for U.S. diplomacy to obtain a core objective of American policy: ending Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.
In the U.S. foreign policy community, permanent peace arrangements in Korea are normally considered a means for helping to resolve the nuclear issue with North Korea. Advocates of a peace regime, including myself, have generally embraced the view that if South Korea and North Korea could reach a comprehensive settlement of outstanding security issues, with the assistance and participation of the United States and China, this settlement would effectively resolve the nuclear issue and lead to the creation of a forum for multilateral security cooperation in Northeast Asia.
Approximately four weeks after North Korea’s nuclear test, the Obama administration has adopted the hard line approach to Pyongyang advocated by former Vice President Dick Cheney and his conservative allies. Sadly, the administration’s new policy rejects the fundamental premises of arms control that have guided the U.S. government since the early 1970s.
Let’s be honest: North Korea’s nuclear test on Sunday does not, as U.S. President Barack Obama put it, “pose a grave threat to the peace and stability of the world” much beyond the threat that North Korea posed on Saturday — the day before it conducted the test. And hyping the test, as Obama did in his White House statement, actually makes matters worse.
North Korea followed through on its Oct. 3 commitment to disable its nuclear facilities this quarter, but resisted giving a “complete and correct” declaration of its nuclear programs. At the end of the quarter, the U.S. faced a diplomatic dilemma: how to incentivize Pyongyang to continue the disabling process, while pressuring North Korea to come clean on its past nuclear activities.
In an historic breakthrough at the Six-Party Talks, North Korea committed to disabling its Yongbyon nuclear facilities and declaring all its nuclear programs by Dec. 31, 2007. It also pledged not to transfer nuclear materials, technology, or know-how. In exchange, the U.S. agreed to move toward normalizing relations with Pyongyang by fulfilling its commitment to take North Korea off the list of state sponsors of terrorism and end the application of the U.S. Trading with the Enemy Act as Pyongyang fulfills its denuclearization commitments.
After more than nine months of deliberations, a nonpartisan working group, organized by the Atlantic Council, has concluded that the US should now seek a comprehensive settlement in Korea – the major aspects of which are outlined below – that builds on but also goes beyond the administration’s February 2007 political decision to move ahead on nuclear negotiations with North Korea.