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Moon urged to foil Kim's 'sidelining' strategy

2024-07-23 03:58:56      点击:389
By Kim Jae-kyoung

William Brown
William Brown
President Moon Jae-in should thwart North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's attempt to sideline South Korea, according to William Brown, an adjunct professor at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.

To that end, he called on Moon and his administration to reinforce ties with the U.S. and Japan, while beefing up missile capabilities to counter the North's provocations.

This advice came amid growing concerns that North Korea's continued provocations, particularly following its sixth and biggest nuclear test, have opened a rift in the South Korea-U.S. alliance.

Brown believes that Kim is seeking to exclude South Korea from talks and deal directly with the U.S. to claim legitimacy over the entire Korean Peninsula.

"Seoul needs to recognize what outsiders count as being the obvious. Pyongyang sees Seoul as the target, the lunch so to speak, and the U.S. as a large but moveable obstacle," Brown said in an interview.

"So, to push it away, Pyongyang wants to deal with Washington, not Seoul. President Moon needs to show he will not tolerate this kind of arrogance and will bring to bear an entire governmental approach in dealing with the rapidly growing threat," he added.

"An entire government approach" in Brown's words is "close relations with the U.S. and Japan, tolerating significant tension with China and anyone else who deals with Pyongyang, and the full-scale development and purchase of high technology offensive and preemptive conventional weaponry."

But Brown, who previously worked for the CIA and the National Intelligence Council, said that he is against the idea of redeploying tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea

"I don't like the idea and I doubt the U.S. government will go in that direction. It seems we have plenty of capability to hit the North from offshore," he said.

Given North Korea's growing nuclear threats, the Washington-based North Korea expert said that "dialogue" is the wrong word right now.

"A tough kind of engagement is needed that might include multiple levels of engagement but this should be focused on inducing radical changes in the North Korean regime," he said.

"My preference is one of active engagement designed to make Kim fear that his regime is like the old Romania, and that they are going to encourage internal opposition unless he makes a dramatic U-turn," he said.

The retired U.S. government official said that Pyongyang's frequent provocations illustrates the Kim Jong-un regime feeling a greater sense of urgency.

"Technological demands of the program combined with a need to strike fear in its enemies are causing Pyongyang to test at a very rapid rate," he said.

He pointed out that Kim has one goal right now ― to convince Trump and Moon that he is willing to commit to a suicidal war should they attack his nuclear forces just before they are ready to provide a real deterrent.

"Pyongyang right now is in the most dangerous phase of the entire 30-year nuclear weapons program, almost complete, and thus an obvious growing threat, but not quite finished so extremely vulnerable to U.S. or South Korean preemption," he added.

According to Brown's observation, about a year ago Kim crossed the threshold of capability with two successful nuclear tests and entered this vulnerable period. Since then he has been working feverishly to complete the program in a way that will deter an attack.

"Deception is the other part of this dangerous and risky game, trying to show they have usable weapons, probably before they are ready. Clearly it is now getting close to the finish line and he is taking great risks," he said.

Brown, who served a senior research fellow in the U.S. Embassy in Seoul in the 1980's, said that it is important to make sure that any sanctions won't have direct impact on the daily lives of the North Korean people.

"We tend to sanction items that probably employ a lot of ordinary workers. If they are paid through the state system the sanction is well warranted since they are little better off than slaves but if they are paid in the new market economy, we are hitting the wrong horse," he said.

"Our sanctions should be leveled hard and fast on the state side of the economy, not the markets which are one of our few hopes for radical change in the North Korean regime," he added.

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