On January 5, the Washington Times and the Universal Peace Federation’s International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace held a webinar with five leading U.S. experts on the threat from North Korea. The panel was moderated by Washington Times Foundation President Dr. Michael Jenkins. The panelists were former Congressman Dan Burton (R-CA), former U.S. Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, Georgetown University Professor Alexandre Mansourov, and Center for Security Policy President Fred Fleitz.
Jenkins, Burton, and DeTrani spoke of the urgency that the Biden administration continue dialogue and engagement with North Korea. They said the Trump administration created opportunities for peace that Biden officials must continue and build upon.
DeTrani, a former envoy to the Six-Party Talks on the North Korea nuclear question during the George W. Bush administration, stressed that events of the past few year prove North Korean President Kim Jong Un wants peace and is willing to denuclearize on a step-by-step basis. DeTrani believes Biden officials are prepared to begin mid-level talks with North Korea and work with regional players, including China, to promote peace with North Korea.
On China, DeTrani believes it is essential that that the Biden administration engage with China and work with it on areas of mutual interest.
Mansourov said he also hopes the peace process will continue with North Korea, but is skeptical about the Kim regime’s intentions and believes it has several misunderstandings about the United States and Biden’s potential North Korea policy.
Fleitz had a very pessimistic view of the peace process with North Korea under a Biden presidency because Biden and his staff refuse to recognize the success of President Trump’s North Korea policy and are determined to return to the failed North Korea policies of prior U.S. administrations. Fleitz criticized Biden’s plan to resume “traditional” diplomacy with North Korea as a recipe for failure, especially since it would return China to negotiations with Pyongyang on its nuclear program. Fleitz believes Trump scored significant success in dealing with North Korea because he negotiated from a position of strength and his unpredictability kept the North Koreans off balance. He worries that a Biden does not understand this and that his administration will destabilize the region because it will be a return to U.S. weakness and appeasement of North Korea.
On China, Fleitz said a bipartisan congressional effort is needed to convince the Biden administration that President Trump was not exaggerating that China under the Chinese Communist Party is an existential threat to global security and cannot be “engaged” with to make it a less dangerous threat.
You can watch video of this webinar here: