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The North Korean Plan for Victory

July 31, 2017
Plain English Version

North Korean military march.

Will North Korea go to war against the United States? If it does, it is a war it will lose. Then why are the North Koreans trying to make it seem like they will? Experts see a “plan” behind what looks like crazy behavior.

The plan is that having nuclear weapons will do two things. First, it will make North Korea a respected member of the world community. Second, North Korea will then be able to come to terms with the United States and South Korea.

North Korea thinks nuclear weapons will make it too powerful for the U.S. to threaten it. North Korea is now an outlaw state. The leader Kim Jung-un thinks that role will be too risky for the world to accept.

He believes the world will drop its sanctions against North Korea. The U.S. will in the far off future withdraw its forces from South Korea. Foreign capitals would welcome Kim Jung-un. North Korea’s actions suggest it is a "plan” is for these things to happen.

Is the goal of acceptance by the world likely to happen? Most experts say that North Korea will not get all it wants. But that some acceptance on the world stage may come to the country. For North Korea, this may be the best path to follow.

North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons may now be close to complete. The recent tests show North Korea is a nuclear nation. Further testing may not be necessary.

The China Model

North Korea is looking at the success of China. Sixty years ago China was a rogue nation. It had nuclear arms. In the next several years China went on to be a big part of the global order. Of North Korea, an expert said, “You can see in their language and their approach. They are modeling all this much on China and the U.S.”

Helping China pull away from Russia was a factor in U.S. strategy. Russia is not a part of the current U.S. dispute with North Korea.

It is hard to see an American president flying to North Korea to shake the hand of President Kim Jung-un. It was not easy to picture President Richard M. Nixon’s 1972 trip to China.

It is Mr. Kim Jung-un’s plan to develop the economy and the nuclear program. Then, like China, North Korea hopes to become part of the world community.

North Korea says its nuclear weapons serve these goals. It can now try minor demands. One is to ask the U.S. to stop missile testing in South Korea.

North Korea sees itself as playing a long game. It hopes small concessions will add up over generations. Kim Jung-un could hold power for decades.

Is this a plan that makes sense? To many people, it does not. But experts do agree that Mr. Kim Jung-un has a plan.

Source: The New York Times July 29, 2017



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