We're Holding Pyongyang to Account

We're Holding Pyongyang to Account by Jim Mattis and Rex Tillerson - Wall Street Journal

In the past few months, multiple illegal North Korean ballistic-missile and ICBM tests—coupled with the most recent bellicose language from Pyongyang about striking the U.S., Guam, our allies and our interests in the Asia-Pacific region—have escalated tensions between North Korea and America to levels not experienced since the Korean War.

In response, the Trump administration, with the support of the international community, is applying diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a dismantling of the regime’s ballistic-missile programs. We are replacing the failed policy of “strategic patience,” which expedited the North Korean threat, with a new policy of strategic accountability.

The object of our peaceful pressure campaign is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. has no interest in regime change or accelerated reunification of Korea. We do not seek an excuse to garrison U.S. troops north of the Demilitarized Zone. We have no desire to inflict harm on the long-suffering North Korean people, who are distinct from the hostile regime in Pyongyang.

Our diplomatic approach is shared by many nations supporting our goals, including China, which has dominant economic leverage over Pyongyang. China is North Korea’s neighbor, sole treaty ally and main commercial partner. Chinese entities are, in one way or another, involved with roughly 90% of North Korean trade. This affords China an unparalleled opportunity to assert its influence with the regime. Recent statements by members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as other regional and global voices, have made clear the international community holds one view regarding North Korea’s provocative and dangerous actions: They must stop. Pyongyang must stand down on those actions…

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I am curious for those who maintain these statistics. How many joint OpEds are written by a sitting SECDEF and SECSTATE? One thing that is overlooked is that there appears to be a genuine close relationship between the two Secretaries and that is something that in normal times should bring us a lot of confidence if only they had their fully assigned staffs working together and following their lead. I hope that the Administration can realize that the team they have put together at the top of DOD and State is a great thing and that they should give them their fully functioning teams. This could be a great think for diplomatic-military relations and operations and support to our national security strategy (and the ability to "do" strategy).

I wonder if this is the deliberate opening to the Kim Family Regime - is this paragraph a significant change since there is no mention of denuclearizing first or pledging to denuclearize before talks can be held? There appears to be only the requirement for a cessation of threats and tests.

QUOTE The U.S. is willing to negotiate with Pyongyang. But given the long record of North Korea’s dishonesty in negotiations and repeated violations of international agreements, it is incumbent upon the regime to signal its desire to negotiate in good faith. A sincere indication would be the immediate cessation of its provocative threats, nuclear tests, missile launches and other weapons tests. END QUOTE