Ending the Cold WarPresident Moon Jae-in spoke on making a new order in Northeast Asia following U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Pyongyang. In a cabinet meeting after he was briefed by Pompeo on his talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Moon said Kim will soon visit Russia and invite Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pyongyang. He said that changes on the Korean Peninsula would lead to a new order in Northeast Asia.
Although the reason for his confidence is unclear, many would welcome the removal of Cold War remnants from the Korean Peninsula. The chain collapse of the Soviet and Eastern European bloc in 1989 did not reach this part of the world. The Kim family dynasty remained strong as ever, and the two Koreas remained divided. Russia and China each took turns using the communist North for their national interests. The Korean people had to suffer as a result. All the détentes proposed since the 1990s have failed because the old Cold War ideology outweighed them. Ending the wasteful confrontation will lead to a new future and lasting peace in the region.
That will be possible through improved ties between North Korea and the United States. They must end their longstanding hostilities and pave the way for normalization of a divided land. North Korea has invited U.S. nuclear experts to verify the permanent dismantlement of its nuclear and missile engine test sites. Once verified, confidence in the Kim Jong-un regime will improve. The peace process can come about once the denuclearization talks take off.
The State Department also said that Pompeo discussed with Kim the location and date for a second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump. But the outside inspection should not stop at verifying the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. Many experts believe that North Korea has already developed a hydrogen bomb and can upgrade the capacity of its nuclear weapons through computer simulation. It is not enough for nuclear inspectors to simply verify North Korea’s shutdown of useless test sites when it has the capability to launch nuclear weapons from countless mobile platforms. Outside inspectors must have access to all locations at all times to ensure lasting faith in the Pyongyang regime. We must act boldly and meticulously so as not to waste the momentum towards peace.
JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 9, Page 26