Asan Plenum

General Bell will propose that the Six Party Talks mechanism, while admirable and certainly worth pursuing initially, is no longer a viable approach to achieve North Korean denuclearization. Indeed, General Bell will suggest that the entire talks process from its inception had little chance of success. He will posit that the talks were always flawed not just because of the disingenuous participation of North Korea, but also because of the divergent objectives and insincerity of several of the other five parties. General Bell will conclude that for the talks to have ever been effective, the other five parties would have had to mutually agree on clear outcomes, purposes, objectives, procedures, and processes. This never happened.

Unfortunately, divergent national interests of the five parties resulted in lack of unified resolve and conviction in negotiations with the North Koreans, ultimately providing the north with the ways and means to gain deliberative advantage over the United States, Japan and South Korea. While the ˝fallout˝ from the Taepodong-2 ICBM launch in 2009 provided the proximate rationale for the north to withdraw from the talks, indeed the north had effectively controlled the process all along, while continuously violating the agreements to ensure it would always have the ability to continue or resume the development of nuclear weapons.

The only reasonable way ahead now is to effectively contain North Korea both economically and militarily during the remaining days of the Kim, Jung-il regime. During this period, the United States must aggressively discuss and deliberate with China for a new post Kim, Jung-il approach to the North Korean denuclearization issue. Meanwhile, it is crucial for the United States, Japan, and South Korea to field a fully integrated anti-missile defense system that will effectively protect each of the nations from North Korean nuclear brinksmanship, blackmail or attack.