Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

  • HOME
  • Speaking Out
  • 【#528(Special)】U.S. Should Resume Military Drills with S. Korea
Tsutomu Nishioka

【#528(Special)】U.S. Should Resume Military Drills with S. Korea

Tsutomu Nishioka / 2018.07.12 (Thu)

July 9, 2018

     U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Pyongyang without any achievement while being criticized as a “gangster.” U.S. President Donald Trump now must threaten to retract “security guarantees” he committed to provide at his meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month. A hopeless situation could come for Japan as it cannot resolve the issue of North Korea’s abduction of Japanese citizens without the denuclearization of the North. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should persuade President Trump to restart U.S.-South Korea joint military drills.

Pompeo branded as a gangster
     After the Pyongyang visit, Pompeo made only diplomatic remarks pointing out “progress” and the formation of a “working group.” At least, he should have won North Korea’s declaration on the amount and locations of nuclear warheads/bombs, plutonium and enriched uranium and on uranium enrichment facilities for the denuclearization process to progress. In this sense, Pompeo’s talks in Pyongyang achieved nothing.
     Just after Pompeo left Pyongyang, North Korea released a statement by a Foreign Ministry spokesman claiming that “the U.S. side came up only with its unilateral and gangster-like demands for denuclearization just calling for CVID (complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization), declaration and verification, all of which run counter to the spirit of the Singapore summit meeting and talks.” “[The] high-level talks this time brought us in a dangerous situation where we may be shaken in our unshakable will for denuclearization, rather than consolidating trust between [the two countries],” the statement said in a threatening tone.
     About one month after the U.S.-North Korea summit, there are growing doubts about if the North Korean regime would completely dismantle nuclear missiles. In my earlier comments including those in the “Speaking Out” column, I positively assessed the U.S.-North Korea summit. This was because the joint statement after the summit indicated that a deal was struck in which Kim committed to complete denuclearization and Trump committed to security guarantees provided to North Korea. I interpreted that if Kim breaks his commitment, Trump would retract his security guarantee and resume strong military pressure on North Korea.

Let Dictator feel his life is in danger
     Pompeo and the Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers at their meeting on July 8 reaffirmed their common goal of pursuing the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all weapons of mass destruction and all-range ballistic missiles and agreed to cooperate in leading North Korea to take specific actions for the complete implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, according to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They made no mention of the possible resumption of U.S.-South Korea joint military drills or the enhancement of sanctions on North Korea.
     President Trump was not quick to respond to North Korea’s belligerent statement. Before Pompeo’s visit to Pyongyang, Trump had boastfully said that North Korea’s denuclearization was making progress and that he avoided war by meeting with Kim Jong Un. After the U.S.’ demands for denuclearization were criticized as “gangster-like,” however, the president made no protest and tweeted two days later that he was confident Kim would “honor the contract.”
     The North Korean regime makes concessions only when it feels strong pressure, and especially when the dictator’s life is in danger. President Trump should send a message that he cannot provide security guarantees under present circumstances. Specifically, he should mention the resumption of U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises. Only when Kim Jong Un completes the dismantlement of nuclear missiles, Japan can hold a summit with North Korea that will place the resolution of the abduction issue and large-scale economic assistance on the agenda. To resolve the abduction issue, Prime Minister Abe should persuade President Trump to restart U.S.-South Korea joint military drills.

Tsutomu Nishioka is a member of the Planning Committee at the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals and Visiting Professor at Reitaku University.