September 27, 2023

U.S. needs a long-term goal for North Korea and Northeast Asia

Pyongyang’s nukes and missiles challenge regional cooperation, spread insecurity

Multilateral cooperation in Northeast Asia is crucial to dealing successfully with the problems presented by North Korea with its nuclear tests and missile launches. Most regrettably, regional players China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, and the United States do not agree on a number of issues, and that prevents effective collaborative efforts to counter Pyongyang’s bellicose ways.

The issues that plague Northeast Asia are both historical and recent – and none are easily solvable. Consider, for example, the two most affected regional players, China and South Korea. Seoul is one of the main targets of Pyongyang’s animosity while Beijing is the last remaining patron of the North’s intractable regime. The South must take measures to safeguard itself from the North and has recently accepted that the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile system of the U.S. needs to be positioned in South Korea to counter North Korea’s ever more devastating missile threats.