With North Korea on the verge of possessing usable nuclear weapons, the best way to keep those weapons out of its hands would be reunification with South Korea, says John Bolton, former ambassador to the United Nations.
Clearly nuclear weapons can’t be negotiated out of North Korean hands, he writes in The Wall Street Journal
. “A new Northeast Asian nuclear reality is emerging, but the U.S. and its allies shouldn't placidly acquiesce in it or its dangerous implications.”
A military attack isn’t a viable option, says Bolton, now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. That’s because South Korea is understandably concerned that using force against the North would bring an overwhelming response against the South, possibly including nuclear, chemical, and/or biological weapons.
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“Since Pyongyang verges on possessing deliverable nuclear arms that we cannot safely pry from its grasp, the obvious alternative is to replace the North Korean regime with one that will renounce nuclear weapons, as did post-apartheid South Africa and post-Soviet Ukraine and Belarus,” Bolton writes.
“The best way to achieve that aim is through peacefully reunifying the Korean peninsula.”
Critics say that China, a North Korean ally, won’t support reunification, but Bolton argues that Beijing can be brought around.
North Korea is an artificial country created by an agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States after World War II. “It has no historical claim to legitimacy as a separate state,” Bolton says. “A reunification strategy should have been pressed decades ago, but better late than never.”
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