Should North Korea be recognised as a nuclear power?
After its latest nuclear test North Korea announced that the entire US territory is within reach of its missiles. The UN Security Council condemned the test while the US announced further sanctions and called on China to stop supplying oil to the rogue state. Commentators doubt there is any alternative now to recognising Pyongyang as a nuclear power.
Time to swallow the bitter pill
It's time to face the fact that North Korea is now a nuclear power, Jyllands-Posten contends:
“The West must not lie to itself. Sanctions will harm the North Korean planned economy little by little, but the country will never lack the means to continue its nuclear programme. The civilian population will suffer, but Kim won't be deterred by tougher sanctions. ... So we're left with the bitter truth that yet another country has become a nuclear power. There's no option but to strike up some kind of formalised dialogue with Pyongyang. That's a huge pill to swallow - not the least for the US, which failed miserably in its attempt to prevent North Korea from going nuclear.”
Trump may have seen reason long ago
It could be that the generals convinced Trump long ago that a war on the Korean Peninsula would not be a good idea, columnist Gwynne Dyer speculates in the Cyprus Mail:
“Don't expect Trump to go public and explain to Americans that there are no good military options available to the United States. He's not going to tell them that they are ultimately going to have to live in a state of mutual deterrence with North Korea like they already do with Russia and China... But if he understands that himself, that's enough. ... Trump is ignorant and bombastic, but he is not stupid. If his generals tell him the facts often enough, he can be persuaded to behave with appropriate caution. He cannot be persuaded to tone down his rhetoric, ... but we may be safer than we think.”
Driving a wedge between the elites
Helsingin Sanomat also reflects on new approaches the international community could take in dealing with North Korea:
“Theoretically the most effective approach would be measures that exacerbate the dissatisfaction among the elites and thus increase their desire for change. Kim fears those close to him more than he fears his people. ... But naturally this is not an easy thing to do. Even if tensions among North Korea's elites were to put a brake on the country's arms race, life would hardly improve for its normal citizens. The world can try to dangle a carrot in front of those who want to stop Kim or even topple him, but it's unlikely that his place would be taken by a humanitarian friend of the people.”