Recent negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program failed to reach a comprehensive agreement. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, however, remains determined to move forward despite congressional misgivings. These nuclear negotiations with Iran are reminiscent of North Korea and the Six-Party Talks.
It has been 10 years since the U.S., North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia first sat at the negotiation table over Pyongyang’s nuclear program. However, the Six-Party Talks never achieved their aim of denuclearizing North Korea, since Pyongyang never implemented its commitments. North Korea has proposed coming back to the negotiating table but as an acknowledged nuclear state. Under those circumstances, the U.S. has no chance of achieving great success.
Bruce Klingner, Heritage senior fellow for Northeast Asia, was interviewed in The Wall Street Journal and made four points regarding the lessons the U.S. should learn from its North Korean experiences:
- The U.S. should maintain sanctions while engaging in conditional diplomacy. The punitive measures should continue as long as the behavior that triggered them remains.
- The U.S. needs precise language in any agreement to not let its opponents take advantage of loopholes.
- There should be a requirement for vigorous verification measures to ensure compliance. This needs to include not only technical samplings but also short-notice challenge inspections of non-declared facilities.
- The U.S. needs to establish deadlines and consequences for failure to meet them.
In addition to these four points, the U.S. needs to ensure sufficient military defenses against the full spectrum of North Korean military threats. North Korea’s provocations, such as its nuclear tests and missile launches, show continually improving military capabilities. However, it seems that the U.S. does not consider North Korea or Iran as serious threats. The U.S. should ensure sufficient deterrence and not allow North Korea or Iran to gain advantage through diplomacy.
When negotiating, the U.S. should figure out how to deal with states that lack table manners. Otherwise, the U.S. could face yet another nuclear threat somewhere else in the world.