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Why solving the Korean Peninsula crisis needs to be an international effort

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THE THREE key actors in the Korean Peninsula crisis are demonstrating why a solution should be anchored in an international coalition and international institutions.

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un shows signs that he is ready to trade nuclear and ICBM capabilities for security and economic development. US President Donald Trump appears prepared to make a deal, but his advisors and political party oppose UN sanctions relief. And South Korean President Moon Jae-in has so far been unwilling to articulate and promote a deal that would attract Trump and Kim.

Nevertheless, Seoul is the best-positioned party to lead an effort to nail down a new solution.

Seoul’s options do not involve ‘being nice’ to North Korea or ‘going against’ its US ally. Rather, its activism could provide political and optical cover for the United States to capture the elusive ‘win’ on Korea that eluded former presidents Bush and Obama.

SEE ALSO: North Korea says US ‘hell-bent’ on sanctions despite Trump-Kim meeting

But it cannot do this alone and needs help from other countries and the United Nations.

North and South Korea have each missed opportunities for agreements over the past decades, but the United States has had an overwhelming impact. The last time these peninsular and regional opportunities were opening up 25 years ago, the United States was leading the way after negotiating the Agreed Framework (AF) with North Korea in 1994. It was doing so against strong opposition from the US Republican Party and a conservative South Korean president. The scale and expected lasting impact of the combined AF and North–South engagement from 1998 to 2000 are rarely remembered now, but they were potentially transformative for the region.

Only two weeks after the AF was signed, Republicans had taken control of the US........

© Asian Correspondent