Defense Secretary Jim Mattis indicated this week that the U.S. will lift a suspension of joint military exercises with South Korea. This announcement, in addition to President Trump’s recent cancelation of his State Department’s visit to Pyongyang, goes against what Peace Science tells us about the importance of granting concessions and avoiding provocations during intense negotiations.
In the News:
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis indicated this week that the U.S. was lifting a suspension of joint military exercises with South Korea.
“Secretary Mattis told a Pentagon news conference that no decisions had been made about major exercises for next year but noted that the suspension of drills this summer as a good-faith gesture to North Korea was not open-ended. U.S. President Donald Trump’s June decision to unilaterally suspend the drills caught many American military planners off guard and was broadly criticized as a premature concession to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who Trump wants to give up his nuclear weapons. The president recently told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to call off a looming visit to Pyongyang, citing a lack of concrete steps on North Korea’s part toward dismantling its nuclear program.”
Insight from Peace Science:
The overwhelming military capabilities of the U.S. and the presence of U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula are primary motivators for North Korea’s nuclear program.
Deployed militaries undermine national security and cause global harm. By prioritizing the vital, effective diplomatic options still on the table the U.S. and both Koreas can continue the progress towards denuclearization and a more peaceful Korean Penninsula. Recently, cooperation between North and South Korea has resulted in major social progress, as some Korean families, long-separated by conflict, have been reunited. This progress and the end-goal of nuclear disarmament is jeopardized by returning to the provocative practice of joint U.S./North Korean military exercises.
- “U.S. Military Says No Plans to Suspend More Major Exercises on Korean Peninsula” by Phil Stewart & Arshad Mohammed for Reuters. August 28, 2018.
- Peace Science Digest, Volume 2 Special Issue: Nuclear Weapons. “Too Close and Too Strong. U.S. Power and Proximity Contributing to North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions”.