We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

How 11 US presidents failed to make peace with North Korea

14 1 0

Contrary to popular perception, the core issue to be resolved at the June 12 summit - and any subsequent meetings - between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is not North Korea's denuclearisation. Pyongyang's willingness to denuclearise is already clear.

What is not clear, however, is whether the US is prepared to give North Korea the guarantee of its security which is its main demand. There is no doubt that Pyongyang can disable and dismantle its nuclear arsenal. It is only a question of process.

But it will not do so if the US insists on unilateral denuclearisation without any reciprocal commitment. To paraphrase George Kennan, a renowned US diplomat: A concept of national security that fails to concede the same legitimacy to the security needs of others lays itself open to moral reproach.

In this sense, the historical record of US failures to deliver peace and security to the Korean Peninsula is discouraging. Successive US administrations have failed to offer and guarantee a security arrangement acceptable to Pyongyang and have repeatedly walked away from opportunities to strike a deal.

The recent remarks by National Security Adviser John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence - which quickly led to a flare-up in rhetoric and a temporary suspension of the planned summit - show that such attitudes persist in Washington. It was this type of thinking that made US negotiators choose the language of machismo, ideological posturing and confrontation over compromise 64 years ago.

At the Geneva conference in 1954, where the USSR, China, the US, the UK and France had gathered to decide the........

© Al Jazeera