Can There Be a Limited Armament, Negotiable Solution with North Korea?

Can There Be a Limited Armament, Negotiable Solution with North Korea?

We seem to think only of an all or nothing solution to the atomic bomb and missile development with North Korea. The other type of option is limits on both types of developments, and offering North Korea a lot of incentives to economic development and military security.

The basis has to be that North Korea has two divisions, made clear in their parade and formal gatherings, are the blue suits and the tan military uniforms. As in China, we expect that both ranks of suits and uniforms are tied to private economic wealth. Neither of these wealth divisions want to see a destructive war, nuclear or conventional. In Kim Jong Un’s appearances he is either in front of a whole auditorium or one color uniform or the other, or both in different seating segments. Dictators or Kings are fine to be seen by themselves, but Kim Jong Un, always appears as the leader who is leading these two segments, and they are uniformly applauding him. He might not really rule without their backing.

Clearly, North Korea would get the best deal if they halted weapons development at this stage, and didn’t develop an ICBM that can reach the continental US. It’s hard for the public, or maybe even the US, to know exactly what stage the nuclear development is at. Of course, as each test occurs, we learn more about that as North Korea also does. The news says they are improving the blast strength by including tritium In the weapon’s cores, where tritium fusion sends out much higher energy neutrons, which fission Plutonium much more rapidly, and can increase the output of a weapon a hundred times. It also allows the weapons to be much smaller and fit onto ICBMs. Negotiations must stop developments before these warheads and before H bombs are created and tested.
It could be that the reason Trump and China are so concerned about the next test is because it will be of a smaller, missile sized weapon. This is why the testing site is buried far deeper inside the test mountain. That could be why the Chinese warned North Korea to make sure that there is no radiation leak into nearby Chinese territory.

While a US range ICBM is being developed, stopping its development, as well as the solid stage submarine born missile, and maybe ending the European range missiles would be valued end points.

In return, there could be no restrictions on imports at all, especially essentials such as oil and coal. North Korea used to have an exchange program across the demilitarized zone, where North Koreans would work at factories established by South Korean firms. Investments by US, European, Japanese and Chinese companies that benefit from the nuclear development halt could be guaranteed.

Let’s compare North and South Korea to show North Koreans what could be possible as a developed country. North Korea has 25 million population. Their GDP (PPP) is only $40 billion, which works out to $1,800 per capita. South Korea has a population of 51 million. It’s GDP (PPP) is $1.9 trillion, which works out to $38,000 per capita. So with twice the population, South Korea has 48 times the GDP. That should represent an unstoppable attraction for the ambitious people and families who have risen to the top of North Korea’s Business, Social, Military and Weapons establishments. Despite the rigid structure and murderous determination of Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship, the economic forces have to have a breakthrough at some point. Of course, if you or your father is seen as a god, it apparently counts for a lot. The wealth and productivity of North Korea’s neighbors have grown tremendously in the last decade, and has to be increasingly tempting since North Korea negotiated their last nuclear halt in 2004, but broke by cheating in 2012.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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