Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Change in N. Korea does not mean regime change: senior U.S. diplomat

Mr. Russel's is walking back President Obama's and Ms. Sherman's collapse comments.  

Unfortunately I do not think the Burma example appeals to the Kim Family Regime.

The real options are these - either the Kim Family Regime changes its behavior and becomes a responsible member of the international community or the Kim Family Regime must itself be changed.  The former is unlikely and the latter will cost a tremendous amount of blood and treasure because regime change will likely be achieved through regime collapse or war (and of course impending collapse may lead to the decision to go to war).  The only other option is for internal and indigenous regime change to occur (perhaps with external support as an unconventional warfare campaign).  If that happens then the path is open to unification, denuclearization, and most importantly an end to the horrendous suffering of 25 million people.  But of course these are options that cannot be discussed by diplomats and government officials.

Change in N. Korea does not mean regime change: senior U.S. diplomat

2015/02/05 07:31
By Chang Jae-soon
WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea should learn from Myanmar's opening and change course, a senior American diplomat said Wednesday, stressing Pyongyang can implement reforms without "regime change" as seen in the Southeast Asian nation.
"The transformation in the (Myanmar) economy, the transformation in the lives of Burmese people, the opportunities that have opened and the scope of international cooperation has not come at the cost of a revolution," Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said at a Foreign Press Center briefing.
"A change in North Korea does not mean to be regime change as the example of Burma shows," he said.
Reforms in Myanmar have led to the "pouring-in of significant development economic support," the top State Department official in charge of Asia-Pacific affairs said, adding the reforms have also led to U.S. President Barack Obama visiting the Southeast Asian nation twice.
Russel's remarks came amid speculation that the U.S. may seek a regime change in North Korea after Obama said last month that he believes the autocratic regime in Pyongyang is bound to ultimately collapse.
Russel downplayed North Korea's recent declaration that it will no longer hold talks with the U.S.
"North Korea has opted in and has opted out. North Korea has proposed dialogue; North Korea has rejected dialogue. North Korea has embraced the six-party talks; North Korea has walked out of the six-party talks," he said. "So it's a little difficult to take any single pronouncement ... as the last word."

   Russel stressed the U.S. is willing to hold talks with Pyongyang, but what's more important than simply holding talks is to hold serious negotiations aimed at ending the country's nuclear program, and for such negotiations to reopen, Pyongyang should first demonstrate its denuclearization commitments.
"We are open to dialogue. We have no problem talking to North Korea. We talk to North Korea. What we want, however, are negotiations to implement the agreements reached to fulfill the mandate of the U.N. Security Council resolutions to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula," he said.
"We are always alert to and seeking indicators of seriousness of purpose on North Korea's part that it is prepared to negotiate, that it's prepared to come to the negotiating table, ready to take the concrete steps, take the reversible steps that will be necessary to freeze, roll back and eliminate ultimately the nuclear program and missile program," he said.
The senior diplomat also dismissed as a "nonstarter" Pyongyang's recent offer to suspend nuclear tests in exchange for a halt to joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea, saying the North has no right to "bargain, to trade or to ask for a payoff in return for abiding by international law."

   "That's not how it works. The issue is this. Will North Korea agree to negotiate denuclearization in the six-party context and ... how will we know that there is a sufficient prospect of making progress toward denuclearization to warrant restarting that entire effort," he said.
Meanwhile, Amb. Sung Kim, special representative for North Korea policy, said at a seminar that the U.S. is willing to look for an opportunity for serious denuclearization talks with the North but will also work with the international community to strengthen sanctions on the regime.
Kim declined comment on the dialogue offers reportedly exchanges between the U.S. and the North.
Diplomatic sources have said that Kim had offered to hold a meeting with the North when he visited China as part of a regional trip last week, but the proposed meeting did not take place as the North insisted that it be held in Pyongyang.

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