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East Asia Forum
Peter Van Ness, ‘Saving Face on the Korean Peninsula’, East Asia Forum, 5 May 2017.
Kim Jong-un sees nuclear capability as almost his sole source of regime security and he is not going to give it up, no matter how strong the pressure. He is not stupid. All he has to do is to look at the history of Iraq and Libya, where neither dictator had nuclear weapons. So if the United States insists on denuclearisation of the peninsula, presumably that would require regime change, and regime change is unlikely without the use of force. War in the area would be hugely destabilising and potentially disastrous. No one in their right mind should want that. China is right to urge negotiations, but what is to be negotiated? Kim is not going to negotiate away his own security by giving up his nuclear capability. But if China exerts sufficient pressure, he might agree to stop testing.