What should the US do with North Korea?

First, state that permanent denuclearization is a non-negotiable demand.  The only things to be discussed on this subject are how it, and the end of ICBM production, are to be accomplished.

Second, be prepared to walk away if Kim does not agree to permanent denuclearization.

Third, propose that the current North Korea be divided into two parts near the 44th Parallel.  The new  Democratic People's Republic of Korea would be in the mountains north of Sinanju, on the west, and Hungnam, on the east.  The new Middle Korea would be south of the 44th Parallel and north of the current DMZ.  All three Koreas would be separate and independent countries free to charter their own future.  Such a division has not been on the table since 1951.  It should be reintroduced at any meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un.  China, Japan, and South Korea might even agree with it since it could bring stability to the region.

Since 8 April, President Trump has clearly stated that he plans to do the first two of these proposals.  Now the third proposal needs some consideration.  It is not new.  It was debated in March 1951 among Washington, the U.N., and MacArthur.  Four alternatives were being considered then:

1. Go for a military victory.

2. Go for a ceasefire near the narrow neck of Korea (44th Parallel).

3. Go for a ceasefire near Pyongyang and Wonsan.

4. Go for a ceasefire near the 38th Parallel.

The same four alternatives had previously been considered in October-November 1950.  But then MacArthur was riding a wave of popular support and wanted to land on the east coast with the X Corps and have the Eighth Army advance to the Yalu River.  That plan was launched at the end of November and was a disaster, so in March 1951, MacArthur could not push for a military victory.

On 20 March 1951, MacArthur was told not to make a major advance above the 38th, since Washington and the U.N. had decided to seek a ceasefire near the 38th Parallel.  Ridgway planned to advance ten to twenty miles north of the 38th Parallel to get better defensive positions. 

On 24 March, MacArthur offered to confer with his military counterpart about a ceasefire – he had in mind the narrow neck of Korea (44th Parallel).  Truman considered this an attempt to sabotage his policy and decided to remove MacArthur.

Although this third proposal was considered before, few know of its history.  Even fewer have thought about its advantages.  It would be useful to reintroduce it.  Kim will not go along with it until China thinks it is a good solution and Kim is told that if he wants to survive, he will have to accept it.  It should at least be on the table.  Also, there should be a formal end to the Korean War and a pledge of all parties not to attempt to remove the North Korean regime by war.  Those now appear to be part of any deal.  

Eastern culture is different from the West's.  This is one of the reasons the U.S. and the West have fared so poorly in past negotiations.  Trump seems to have remembered the axiom of negotiating from strength.  The State Department and the foreign policy establishment are full of people who do not understand the difference between Western negotiations with compromises to get a solution in the center and the Eastern use of "negotiations" as a form of conflict to achieve their goals.  The North Koreans are good at this, so it is important for our negotiators to pay close attention to what they say and relate it to what they have said, and done, during previous negotiations.

Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton ought to be able to correct the errors made in the past from negotiating "the Western way" and compromising.  They must see it as a final battle in the gray zone to advance U.S. interests through all means other than war. 

On a personal note, the last time I was in the walled city of Yongbyon (now the location of their secret uranium-enrichment plant) was 28 November 1951, after having fought off Chinese attacks for four days.  It was there that I realized that long-term success does not come from military might and the destruction of your enemies.  I realized that it comes from ideological superiority that is able to achieve stability through equilibrium among all of those with the ability to influence outcomes.

Sam C. Holliday, Armiger Cromwell Center, LLC.

First, state that permanent denuclearization is a non-negotiable demand.  The only things to be discussed on this subject are how it, and the end of ICBM production, are to be accomplished.

Second, be prepared to walk away if Kim does not agree to permanent denuclearization.

Third, propose that the current North Korea be divided into two parts near the 44th Parallel.  The new  Democratic People's Republic of Korea would be in the mountains north of Sinanju, on the west, and Hungnam, on the east.  The new Middle Korea would be south of the 44th Parallel and north of the current DMZ.  All three Koreas would be separate and independent countries free to charter their own future.  Such a division has not been on the table since 1951.  It should be reintroduced at any meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un.  China, Japan, and South Korea might even agree with it since it could bring stability to the region.

Since 8 April, President Trump has clearly stated that he plans to do the first two of these proposals.  Now the third proposal needs some consideration.  It is not new.  It was debated in March 1951 among Washington, the U.N., and MacArthur.  Four alternatives were being considered then:

1. Go for a military victory.

2. Go for a ceasefire near the narrow neck of Korea (44th Parallel).

3. Go for a ceasefire near Pyongyang and Wonsan.

4. Go for a ceasefire near the 38th Parallel.

The same four alternatives had previously been considered in October-November 1950.  But then MacArthur was riding a wave of popular support and wanted to land on the east coast with the X Corps and have the Eighth Army advance to the Yalu River.  That plan was launched at the end of November and was a disaster, so in March 1951, MacArthur could not push for a military victory.

On 20 March 1951, MacArthur was told not to make a major advance above the 38th, since Washington and the U.N. had decided to seek a ceasefire near the 38th Parallel.  Ridgway planned to advance ten to twenty miles north of the 38th Parallel to get better defensive positions. 

On 24 March, MacArthur offered to confer with his military counterpart about a ceasefire – he had in mind the narrow neck of Korea (44th Parallel).  Truman considered this an attempt to sabotage his policy and decided to remove MacArthur.

Although this third proposal was considered before, few know of its history.  Even fewer have thought about its advantages.  It would be useful to reintroduce it.  Kim will not go along with it until China thinks it is a good solution and Kim is told that if he wants to survive, he will have to accept it.  It should at least be on the table.  Also, there should be a formal end to the Korean War and a pledge of all parties not to attempt to remove the North Korean regime by war.  Those now appear to be part of any deal.  

Eastern culture is different from the West's.  This is one of the reasons the U.S. and the West have fared so poorly in past negotiations.  Trump seems to have remembered the axiom of negotiating from strength.  The State Department and the foreign policy establishment are full of people who do not understand the difference between Western negotiations with compromises to get a solution in the center and the Eastern use of "negotiations" as a form of conflict to achieve their goals.  The North Koreans are good at this, so it is important for our negotiators to pay close attention to what they say and relate it to what they have said, and done, during previous negotiations.

Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton ought to be able to correct the errors made in the past from negotiating "the Western way" and compromising.  They must see it as a final battle in the gray zone to advance U.S. interests through all means other than war. 

On a personal note, the last time I was in the walled city of Yongbyon (now the location of their secret uranium-enrichment plant) was 28 November 1951, after having fought off Chinese attacks for four days.  It was there that I realized that long-term success does not come from military might and the destruction of your enemies.  I realized that it comes from ideological superiority that is able to achieve stability through equilibrium among all of those with the ability to influence outcomes.

Sam C. Holliday, Armiger Cromwell Center, LLC.