|"Fatty the Third" the Chinese call him. Your average Chinese hates|
the North Koreans. But what the government does or can do is a
complex issue and not as simple as the US seems to think
I had business with North Korea in the early 80s. We sold coking coal to them, and bought some fencing materials. When asked to sum up what it was like: first, trading coking coal — as a tiny Aussie company, what the Chinese called “pibao gongsi ”, literally “briefcase company” or, more felicitously, “carpetbaggers” — it was huge fun. Chartering a bulk carrier from the Greek owners, buying the coal on the Australian market with just a phone call, going up to Newcastle (the Aussie one) to see it being loaded, going to Chongjin in North Korea to see it being unloaded, having banquets with our free-drinking and women-loving North Korean hosts, it was all, as I’ve often said, “the most fun you can have standing up”. There’s also a second point: we came to understand that the North Koreans would simply lie and cheat.
That’s a point Nicholas Eberstadt makes in "North Korean Nuclear Threat: Understanding Regime Key to Neutralizing It” in the National Review. They lie and cheat and you have to get used to it, if Talk is going to be one of the options.
And it is, according to him.
Basically he comes down to a combination of Talk and Sanctions, and a lot of tightening up on both, and being clear eyed about what North Korea is all about. A strategy he summarises as “Threat Reduction”.
In broad outline, North Korean threat reduction requires progressive development of more effective defenses against the DPRK’s means of destruction while simultaneously weakening Pyongyang’s capabilities for supporting both conventional and strategic offense.
A more effective defense against the North Korean threat would consist mainly, though not entirely, of military measures. Restoring recently sacrificed U.S. capabilities would be essential. Likewise more and better missile defense: THAAD systems (and more) for South Korea and Japan, and moving forward on missile defense in earnest for the USA. It would be incumbent on South Korea to reduce its own population’s exposure to North Korean death from the skies through military modernization and civil defense.
The DPRK would be served notice that 60 years of zero-consequence rules of engagement for allied forces in the face of North Korean “provocations” on the peninsula had just come to an end. But diplomacy would count here as well: most importantly, alliance strengthening throughout Asia in general and repairing the currently frayed ROK–Japan relationship in particular. Today’s ongoing bickering between Seoul and Tokyo reeks of interwar politics at its worst; leaders who want to live in a postwar order need to rise above such petty grievances. Read all of it....BTW: Eberstadt uses a TLA that's not easy to find. It's PSI, which is the "Proliferation Security Initiative"
Then there's a FLA, which has letters inverted, which makes it hard to look up. Correctly, it's the MTCR, which is the "Missile Technology Control Regime".