Tags: North Korea | Trump Administration | ronald reagan | administration | olympics | south korea

Analysis: Trump Could Channel Reagan to Deal With NKorea

Analysis: Trump Could Channel Reagan to Deal With NKorea
People take photos infront of the Olympic rings and mascots in Gangneung, South Korea. (The Yomiuri Shimbun/AP)

By    |   Monday, 08 January 2018 06:30 PM

A new analysis suggests the United States and South Korea could benefit by taking a page from the Reagan administration's playbook when it comes to dealing with North Korea and its threats of starting a nuclear war.

In a piece for The Atlantic, Robert Carlin and Joel Wit recalled the time when former President Ronald Reagan used the 1988 Seoul Olympics as a way to begin negotiations with the North Koreans.

With the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, about a month away, North Korea has already requested to meet with its southern neighbor to talk about the Games.

That could give the United States an opening as the Trump administration seeks to squash North Korea's desires to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons, Carlin and Wit wrote.

The pair explained the Reagan administration's North Korea strategy, called the "modest initiative." It involved the U.S. loosening certain sanctions on North Korea if the reclusive nation did not use the Olympics to stage some sort of attack. The Seoul Olympics ended without any drama from North Korea, which shot down a South Korean airliner in 1987, so the Reagan administration took additional steps to help improve relations.

"Ahead of this year's games, there is an opportunity for Washington and Seoul to coordinate their strategy and move from confrontation to dialogue," Carlin and Wit wrote. "That strategy could consist of small confidence-building measures, ultimately intended to lead to talks that address each side's concerns — particularly the North Korean nuclear threat."

They also suggested, "the Trump administration could ask Pyongyang for a 'positive, constructive' response. It could suggest North Korea grant Swedish diplomats in Pyongyang consular access to the three Americans still being held in its prisons, play a constructive role in advancing inter-Korean dialogue — particularly in military-to-military talks — intended to reduce tensions, and clearly state that it opposes international terrorism, including acts involving chemical, biological, or nuclear devices and materials."

North Korea has threatened to attack the U.S. on several occasions in the last year as it builds an arsenal of nuclear weapons. It also criticizes Trump on a regular basis.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday that North Korea needs to stop conducting tests of its nuclear program before the U.S. begins formal negotiations.

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The United States and South Korea could benefit from taking a page from the former President Ronald Reagan's administration when it comes to dealing with North Korea and its nuclear war threat.
ronald reagan, administration, olympics, south korea
Monday, 08 January 2018 06:30 PM
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