Saturday, June 27, 2009

A call for a Geneva conference on Korea

As the Barack Obama administration has appointed Philip Goldberg as enforcer and co ordinator of sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [DPRK aka North Korea], the tempo and tone of martial music grows in Pyongyang. Had US president Obama had to smarts that everyone says that he has, he would seize the moment to call for a conference on Korea in Geneva. The moment is ripe, the more especially since Kim Jong il has "torn up the Armistice Agreement of 1953".
By calling for such a conference, neither Pyongyang, nor Seoul, nor Beijing can say no. And by expanding it to include Tokyo and Moscow, Mr. Obama would set the stage for discussions and negotiations on a 2, 4, and 6 party level. China, the US, the DPRK and the Republic of Korea [ROK or South Korea] would hold 'pourparleurs' on ending the war in Korea now in its 59 year. [Since the ROK refused the original Armistice Agreement, conditions and times have so changed, that opinion leans in its inclusion in the talks.]As for the 6 party talks, well, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the agenda, since the themes are the same of the failed and very dead six party talks in Beijing. In other words, the denuclearisation of the divided Korean peninsula and other matters dealing with Pyongyang and its neighbours. As the the 2 party talks, Washington and Pyongyang will have eye to eye meetings on diplomatic relations, trade, foreign aid and investment, so on and on.
Talks won't be easy, but at least you have a good framework to begin unraveling the ravages of 60 odd years of isolating the DPRK. The current exhibition of muscular diplomacy only heightens tensions and risks military confrontation. It's time for a measured and an adult approach to solving the longest standing issue of the immediate post world war 2. What does it profit Washington let alone Pyongyang, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, or Moscow, when president Obama boasts that he's 'crossed the t's and dotted the i's' on dealing with Pyongyang. It's a sure sign that the cool and reasoned American president is much annoyed, and in his displeasure, he has initiated steps which will heat up an already contentious atmosphere. It's is time to say 'time out', take the measure of the moment, and look for a solution. Guam Diary has always thought that the answer lies in a call for a Geneva conference on Korea. It won't be the first time nor the last. Consider the first Geneva Conference brought us an Armistice Agreement, it is well hoped that another will give birth to a peace agreement, and a framework on a bi and multi lateral basis to gnaw out the bones of contention arising from the current standoff between the US and the DPRK. It is time to take a new tack...and boy is the time ripe!

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