SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Last year was a disaster for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
He helplessly brooded the conclusion of a TV-to-summit with former President Donald Trump, who lifted crippling sanctions for his country, during the epidemic border closures in view of his country’s already battered economy. Failed
Now he should start again with President Joe Biden, who previously called Kim a “thug” and accused Trump of chasing the spectacle rather than making meaningful cuts to Kim’s nuclear arsenal.
While Kim has vowed to strengthen his nuclear weapons program in recent political speeches, he also tried to give Biden a start by stating that the fate of their relationship depends on whether Washington considers hostile US policies Says
It is unclear how patient Kim will be. North Korea has a history of testing the new US administration with missile launches and other provocations aimed at getting Americans back to the negotiating table.
At a recent military parade in Pyongyang, Kim demonstrated new weapons he could test, including solid fuel ballistic systems fired from vehicles and submarines, and the North’s largest intercontinental ballistic missile.
A resurgence of tension would force the US and South Korea to think more deeply with the possibility that Kim could never voluntarily deal with the weapons he sees as the strongest guarantee of his existence.
Kim’s arsenal became a major threat to the United States and its Asian allies after testing in 2017, including an alleged thermonuclear warhead and an explosion of ICBM flight tests that demonstrated its ability to reach deep into US land. .
A year later, Kim began diplomacy with South Korea and the US, but it derailed in 2019 when the Americans partially rejected North Korea’s major sanctions demands for a nuclear deal and partly Surrendered its nuclear capabilities.
North Korea will likely not be a top priority for Biden, who faces mounting domestic issues, also pushing back into the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that Trump called maximum pressure against Iran. .
The Biden administration’s “order of policy attention will probably be: Get America’s own home in order, strengthen American alliances and align strategies toward China and Russia, and then address Iran and North Korea,” Lifa-Eric Isle Said, a professor at Esha University in Seoul.
But North Korea never likes to be ignored.
Although Biden served as vice-president under Barack Obama, whose policy was to wait for North Korea to gradually increase sanctions, the method probably would not work because the North’s weapons capabilities had grown significantly over the years.
Izele said sanctions, border closures and crop-killing natural disasters posed the toughest challenges of Kim’s nine-year rule. Kim’s government has a high tolerance for domestic distress and can expect widespread help from China, its only major ally.
North Korea’s first provocation under the Biden administration may possibly be related to the ballistic system launched by the submarine, which Kim showed in a recent parade.
Kim’s ambitions for long-range ICBMs and reconnaissance satellites that he expressed during the ruling party congress this month could lead to a space launch that would double as a test for long-range missile technology. It would remind of a 2009 launch that lasted weeks in Obama’s first term.
Ley (answer) is able to conduct tests that the US and its allies cannot ignore, ”Isle said. “There is a possibility of this exploitation of Kim.”
North Korea’s leaders are trying to advance diplomacy in terms of nuclear weapons, rather than negotiate with full surrender of their weapons, according to analyst Sheen Bomchul of the Seoul-based Research Institute for Research among Nuclear-Based States. Strategy.
Shin said that North Korea would not have tested the weapons until after Biden’s State of the Union address in February, where he could set the tone of his policy toward the north. Kim also wants to see if the United States and South Korea will proceed with a major joint military exercise to be held in March.
Although allies have termed their annual exercises as defensive in nature and reduced much of their joint training activity under Trump to make room for diplomacy, North Korea has called for a full stoppage of practice, invading them. Evidence of horrors and American hostility.
Shin, who served as a South Korean diplomat in the Obama years, said, “The North has made it clear during the Party Congress that the First Renaissance has no intention, but is also interested in hearing that the United States What to say. ”
“Biden will not inherit Trump’s top-down diplomacy, but you can expect him to be more flexible about work-level negotiations, talk with North Koreans at any time and place and anything Can offer to do, ”he said.
Shin hopes Biden will eventually pursue an agreement with North Korea that closely resembles the agreement with Iran that Trump pulled out in 2018. This could provide North Korea with some level of compensation for freezing its nuclear and missile capabilities at its current level.
He said that the United States would not abandon its long-term commitment to nuclear power North Korea, but bringing the country’s nuclear capabilities back to zero is not a real proximate diplomatic goal.
Park Won-gon, a professor at Handong University in South Korea, said the Iran-style deal may not work with North Korea, which has more advanced weapons and is unlikely to accept surveillance moves in the Iran deal .
One thing is clear, however, Park said: If North Korea tests its weapons, Biden will dial sanctions that will push Kim’s economy to the brink.