Monday, February 24, 2020

Media Appearance: North Korea Isn't Ready for Coronavirus Devastation on Foreign Policy

Rahm Emanuel was onto something when he said: "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. It's an opportunity to do things you could not do before." This applies to the nCoV crisis sweeping East Asia as well:
This makes it the right moment for the United States and its allies to extend a helping hand. The under-appreciated fact about sanctions is that they are effective only if they are eventually lifted. Never-ending sanctions and isolation achieve nothing; the point of imposing sanctions is to gradually lift them over time in exchange for a gradual change of behavior. This moment, when North Korea is more isolated than ever from its most important ally, offers the greatest opportunity for the United States to drive a wedge between Pyongyang and Beijing. The beauty of this is that helping North Korea in this situation requires no formal change in US policy at all. No sanctions need to be lifted, as medical and humanitarian assistance is not subject to sanctions. In addition to medical aid, US and South Korea may offer to open tourism for Americans and South Koreans to visit North Korea’s newly constructed resorts when the viral epidemic is over. Doing so would begin the process of weaning North Korea from its trade dependence to China, gradually pulling it toward the US sphere of influence.

Ultimately, denuclearization of North Korea can be achieved only after Washington and Seoul establish a peaceful relationship with Pyongyang. Establishing such “peace regime” is doubly beneficial, as it serves as a check against the increasingly illiberal and assertive China. Not even the most well-designed sanctions regime could have achieved the level of isolation that North Korea is currently experiencing. The United States should not miss this window of opportunity. 
North Korea Isn't Ready for Coronavirus Devastation [Foreign Policy]

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