North Korea’s recent missile tests will put new pressure on the Trump administration to choose a strategy for dealing with this pesky proliferator.
The standard playbook is well known to those who have worked on the problem of North Korea: pressure China to pressure North Korea, toughen sanctions, reassure allies and push them to build missile defenses. Mr. Trump can follow this well-worn path, but he will likely get the same result: failure.
Instead, Mr. Trump, simply by virtue of being the new president, has another option. He can talk to the North Koreans and negotiate. North Korean officials have said that they are willing to turn the page and start fresh with President Trump. If he is open, they would be open. Or so they say.
Kim Jong Un previously floated the idea that he would freeze some of its weapons tests, if the U.S. called off its joint military exercises with South Korea. More recently, Pyongyang suggested that it would normalize relations, if the U.S. withdrew its troops from the South. Both offers are complete and utter non-starters.
But here’s the thing: they are offers. Negotiations start with offers, and rarely does the first offer represent the final deal.
[From Fox News Opinion by Dr. Jim Walsh, Senior Research Associate at MIT’s Security Studies Program]