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A bit of (realistic) pessimism

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By Andrei Lankov

The election of Donald Trump who, in spite of his hard-living tendencies, has been talking about meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for hamburgers, led to an increase in talks about a deal between Pyongyang and Washington.

Nonetheless, as somebody who has dealt with North Korea for some 30 years, I have a rather pessimistic, if realistic, answer to the perennial question: "What could bring about a solution to the North Korean nuclear problem?" My answer is simple: If by ‘solution' one means ‘complete denuclearization of North Korea,' nothing short of a military strike or a revolution in Pyongyang.

Decades of experience has demonstrated neither sanctions nor negotiations will work. Both have been tried, and both failed, in rather spectacular fashion.

North Korean decision makers see nuclear weapons as their only security guarantee, an absolute deterrent, an infallible defense against would-be attackers. It means not only insulation from a foreign attack, but also increases the chances of surviving a major domestic crisis. The assumption is that nuclear weapons afford the Kim family........

© The Korea Times