NORTH KOREA (OBSERVATORY) – If diplomatic negotiations between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-no do not result in any agreement on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, it will support the US desire for a military solution to the conflict, strategists warned.
It is expected that the leaders will hold the summit in late May or in June after the turbulent 2017, during which the parties exchanged mutual insults against the backdrop of Pyongyang’s frequent missile tests.
Despite the fact that the expected summit will lead to a reduction in geopolitical tensions, the likelihood of escalation is very high, if the meeting does not ultimately lead to a reduction in North Korea’s ability to develop nuclear weapons.
“If the North Korea-US summit does not end with the agreement, military risks will increase, exceeding previous levels, due to another failure of diplomacy,” said Alison Evans, deputy head of the Asia-Pacific region at IHS Markit.
It is expected that bilateral negotiations will be complicated by the fact that the White House and Pyongyang hold different concepts about what denuclearization means.
Peace processes are usually seen as a test for diplomacy, so “when they fail, it’s not just the failure of the peace process, diplomacy as a strategy has failed,” said Bruce Jones of the Brookings Institution.
As soon as decision-makers begin to believe that political agreements are unattainable, “then the logic of military decisions grows in significance,”
Like Evans, he said that this can take place in North Korea. “The failure of the summit can largely discredit the diplomatic option (resolving the crisis) on the Korean Peninsula,” the expert said.