As North Korea Goes Nuclear Canada Joins Talks
As North Korea continues to test nuclear weapons adding to regional tensions, Canada may become a larger player in diplomatic discussions.
Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum said that Beijing is angry with North Korea, but that Canada is ultimately willing to “help to broker a peace” on the Korean Peninsula.
“I think China, to use an undiplomatic word, is getting more and more pissed off with North Korea,” McCallum, told CTV’s Question Period. “They seem to be goading their only friend, so China is doing more to implement the sanctions than it had before.”
With multiple nuclear and missile tests this year alone, and multiple rocket tests of neighbor Japan, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has increasingly tested international community.
That has led to several United Nations-backed sanctions packages as well as an escalating war of words between Kim Jung Un and President Trump.
Lack of Interest
China, McCallum said, has no interest in seeing a regime change in North Korea given the potential for hundreds of North Korean refugees to flood its borders. North Korea, he added, will also never willingly give up its growing nuclear arsenal.
“I’m not a fan of Vladimir Putin,” McCallum said, “but I think he got it right when he said that North Korea would rather eat grass than lose its nuclear weapons. I think they see this as existential to them.”
On their own, sanctions will also likely fail to defuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula, McCallum said. He firmly believes that there needs to be a diplomatic solution.
“I think you have to get the parties to the table,” he said. “But the challenge is to decide what would be on the menu at the table and whether there’s any menu that would be remotely feasible for both the United States and North Korea.”
That, he added, is where Canada could potentially play a role as “an honest broker.”
“Canada stands ready should it be useful for us to help to broker a peace,” he said. “If there was anything we can do, either to help to set what would be on the table or to persuade either of the two parties to come to the table or to be a broker if negotiations begin, I am sure that we would be happy to do that.”
Even as North Korea faces impossible odds of victory against a united world it does still have the potential to cause massive amounts of damage.
A single retaliation volley from North Korea could deliver more than 350 metric tons of explosives across the South Korean capital of Seoul, roughly the same amount of ordnance dropped by 11 B-52 bombers.
This damage does not include any of the potential fallout from North Korea’sBallisticc missiles.
Appeasement or Attack?
This potential for damage has many arguing in favor of McCallum’s idea of long-term diplomacy. With some going further to argue that full economic re-integration with North Korea could be the best way forward.
By integrating with the North and allowing for diplomatic trade the population of North Korea could be exposed to more of the world, and in turn could slowly be de-radicalized.
While potentially less costly, this stance could be viewed as appeasement.
Making a simple dichotomy then do we attempt to appease a Nuclear North Korea or do ultimately accept a scenario in which military use in necessary?