Daniel Russel: Diplomatic Solution Still Possible on Korean Peninsula

Interview on BBC's "The Briefing Room"

U.S. Vice President Michael R. Pence shakes hands with South Korean Gen. Leem Ho-Young, deputy commanding general of Combined Forces Command, near the demilitarized zone in South Korea, April 17, 2017. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Sean K. Harp)
U.S. Vice President Michael R. Pence shakes hands with South Korean Gen. Leem Ho-Young, deputy commanding general of Combined Forces Command, near the demilitarized zone in South Korea, April 17, 2017. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Sean K. Harp)

Daniel Russel says it would be a mistake to think that war with North Korea is inevitable or that a diplomatic solution isn't possible.

On April 27, 2017, ASPI’s Senior Fellow and Diplomat in Residence Daniel Russel spoke to BBC Radio’s podcast “The Briefing Room” on the increasingly tense situation with North Korea.

North Korea's nuclear program is “a national security threat of the first order,” Russel said. He cautioned that it would be “a mistake to think that war is inevitable” or that a “negotiated diplomatic solution is impossible.” According to Russel, the Trump administration will try to utilize a “mix of pressure and incentive that will stop short of precipitating a war, but will succeed where past efforts have not, to convince North Korea that it has no viable alternative but to negotiate.”

Regarding China’s role, Russel told the show’s host David Aaronovitch that although “China is reluctant to use its leverage [over North Korea] out of fear of unknown consequences,” ultimately “North Korea’s dependency on China is greater now than, I think, at any point in history.” (28 min, 9 sec.)

Listen to the podcast here. 

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