Action needed on negotiations with N Korea, Canberra Times, 6 July 2017

Action needed

The firing of a possible ICBM missile by North Korea puts the world into a very dangerous place. The US says all options are open, and the Australian government has no position of its own in this dire situation.

Former foreign minister Gareth Evans and former ambassador to Korea Richard Broinowski are both of the view that negotiations with North Korea can be productive.

Broinowski said in April, “Pyongyang has said many times that it would dismantle its nuclear arsenal in exchange for a written pledge that the US won’t attack it, attempt to overthrow it, or impede its economic development through sanctions on trade and investment. Between bombastic statements threatening Japan, South Korea and the United States with condign nuclear punishment, Pyongyang still offers this compromise, even though no one in the West appears to be listening.”

China and Russia are calling for a de-escalation of the tensions. Australia should adopt an independent view and support these calls for de-escalation and for putting every effort into negotiations to defuse this critical situation. It is too important at this time to take leadership from the irrational US President.

Kathryn Kelly, Canberra

6 July 2017