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How Trump can win the Nobel Peace Prize

By Fraser Cameron

4 April 2017

Sir, You report (April 3) that President Donald Trump “is prepared to tackle North Korea alone” but it should be painfully clear to everyone that there is no military solution to the problem of Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons. There is no certainty that the US knows the whereabouts of all North Korea’s launch sites, and any attack would lead to a devastating retaliatory strike on Seoul — a metropolis of 10m just 60km from South Korea’s border with the North.

Another option is regime change but exactly how the US might achieve this by overt or covert means is never spelt out. There is no evidence that the US (or South Korea) has been able to identify let alone fund and equip any potential opposition inside the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Then we come to tightening the existing comprehensive UN sanctions. It is argued, rightly, that there are loopholes to be closed and China should be pressed further to tighten the screws on its wayward ally. But there are always loopholes in sanctions regimes and the evidence suggests that President Kim would still be able to retain his grip on power even if there were to be tighter sanctions. Nor is it likely that China will allow its troublesome ally to fall apart. Beijing worries about having to cope with sudden huge refugee flows and possible US troops on its border. We may think this is irrational, but it is not what we think that counts but what the Chinese Communist party thinks. So what is left? There is still no peace treaty between the two Koreas following the 1952 armistice that settled the de facto partition of Korea along the 38th parallel. What Mr Kim craves above all is recognition from the US that it will not engage in regime change. This means the only possible solution is a grand bargain allowing Mr Trump to put into practice “the art of the deal”. What might the grand bargain look like? On the DPRK side it would commit to halting its production and testing of nuclear weapons and allow existing stockpiles to be monitored by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (as with the Iran agreement). The US would scale down its annual military exercises with South Korea and ease economic and other sanctions. This could lead to a Trump-Kim summit where a final peace treaty is signed. This would not only allow Mr Trump the chance to make history, but it would put him in the frame for the Nobel Peace Prize. And once he received this prestigious award he might think that there was little more to do and just resign. Now that’s what we call a win-win situation.


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