American Diplomacy Towards North Korea Must Be Backed by Missile Defense

    Ariel Cohen

    Security, Asia

    The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system launches during a flight test from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

    Diplomacy needs an insurance policy—and missile defense fits the bill.

    The planned United States–North Korea summit ended abruptly Thursday morning with President Trump’s official withdrawal from talks. In his announcement – which came in a formal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un – Trump lamented the cancellation as “a detriment to the world,” but insisted that a continuation of talks would be “inappropriate” given the Kim regimes “tremendous anger and open hostility” in recent statements. The collapse of negotiations will reverberate far beyond Korea, holding significant implications for future engagement with American geopolitical foes like Iran. It also remains unclear if China played a role in this miscarriage of diplomacy.

    Both sides began negotiations with high hopes that the June 12 summit would serve as a critical first-step in denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. But prospects for a successful meeting quickly regressed as the Trump administration’s evocation of the “Libya Model” for disarmament provoked aggressive rhetoric from the Kim regime. Among the harsh words from North Korea’s state media were threats of a “nuclear showdown,” and name-calling that labeled Vice President Pence “a political dummy” and National Security Advisor John Bolton “repugnant.”

    So much for a Nobel-prize worthy summit.

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