By YEWON KANG
WASHINGTON – As tension heightened on the Korean peninsula after North Korea’s recent artillery attack of the South’s Yeonpyeong Island, experts discussed the U.S. strategy toward the reclusive and hostile country.
Classically, a strategy is made up of four elements – ends, means, ways and risks.
Bruce Klingner, a senior fellow with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, explained the four elements of the U.S. strategy toward North Korea in a phone interview.
Klingner said the ends, or the ultimate goal, of the strategy is to denuclearize North Korea.
The means, or the tools, to achieve the objective are economic pressure, military deterrence and regional diplomacy.
The next element of the strategies is ways, in other words, how to use the tools to achieve the ends. Both the U.S. and the United Nations have put economic sanctions on North Korea, Klingner said.
In addition, the effort included U.S. and South Korean joint military exercises near Yeonpyeong Island in late November, and a diplomatic push with the “stakeholders” in the Asia-Pacific region including Japan, Russia and China.
And Klingner recommended another move to hurt North Korea’s economy and also limit its ability to proliferate its nuclear technology. “We should be targeting the other end of the proliferation pipeline as well,” he said.
“Rather than being used in isolation, these tools are most effective when integrated into a comprehensive strategy utilizing all the instruments of national power,” Klingner added, in a research memo.
Lastly, the risk of the U.S. strategy is failure, and the potential to make North Korea even more hostile. In fact, it is likely that North Korea will expand its nuclear capability and nuclear arsenal, Klingner said.
Ultimately, North Korea wants a bilateral peace treaty with the U.S. and reunification of Korea under its control, said Simone Chun, assistant professor of government at Suffolk University in Boston.
“So far, the winner is North Korea here, because [it] got the attention,” Chun said, in a phone interview.
And Chun doubts that North Korea will collapse on its own, as some U.S. officials were quoted as speculating about in the November WikiLeaks release. Chun called that ”fiction.”
“If North Korea ever collapses, it’s because China decided not to support it,” Chun said.