"Almost nothing can be done diplomatically to dissuade North Korea from abandoning its nuclear program," Michael Auslin, director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said after the DPRK exploded its largest nuclear weapon to date. "It will consistently cheat on any agreement."
And that is largely due to China, which desperately wants to avoid U.S. troops situated north of the DMZ in a repeat of 1950. China has used North Korea as a buffer zone against the West since Chinese communists took control in 1949.
Until China closes its border with the DPRK, sanctions will have almost no effect because the majority of luxury goods for the elite arrive that way.
The UN Refugee Convention was originally drafted in 1951, with a 1967 Protocol. China signed both in 1982. China signed the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1987. These treaties expressly forbid the deportation of refugees back to a country where they will be tortured, imprisoned, and executed, which is exactly what happens to North Koreans when they are returned to the DPRK. Both treaties were signed well after China replaced the ROC in the UN in 1971, so China cannot claim that it inherited conditions of which it was unaware.
But China willingly returns escapees to North Korea because it views their imprisonment, torture, and execution as collateral damage.
David Straub, former chief of the Korea and Japan desks at the U.S. State Department during the 2000s, explained: "Pyongyang believes that if it can credibly threaten the United States with nuclear attack, sooner or later Washington will engage it in a diplomatic process that will eventually result in the end of the U.S.-South Korea alliance and pave the way for Pyongyang to unify the Korean Peninsula on its terms."
Yes, because Kim Jong-un is much closer to his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, than his father, Kim Jong-il, the former of which invaded the ROK on June 25, 1950, created the labor camps, and devised the brilliantly evil strategy of imprisoning someone's entire family to maximize the pressure on North Koreans to conform. The only difference between Mao, the world's greatest mass murder, and Kim Il-sung is that Mao's China had a much larger population.
"Rather than hanging on to the fantasy that Pyongyang can be cajoled into relinquishing its nuclear weapons, the United States should consider adopting a more traditional deterrent policy against North Korea. Washington should state that if Pyongyang launches a nuclear-armed ballistic missile, the United States will respond with a full U.S. attack on North Korea," Auslin wrote.
We should go further.
We should notify the DPRK that in the event of a launch of a nuclear-armed missile:
- We will eliminate the entire Kim family, meaning that we will destroy every known residence. If we miss Kim Jong-un the first time, we will continue trying until we kill him.
- We will eliminate all ships, aircraft, radar installations, missile launch facilities, and other major military sites. This will result in the area just north of the DMZ becoming a vast trench after the elimination of the thousands of artillery pieces situated there.
- We will eliminate the North Korean nuclear program, including all facilities, which would result in parts of the country becoming Chernobylized.
And we should announce this via many avenues of communication to ensure that not only Kim, but also his entire military leadership is informed. This might lead to a coup because military officers would not want to see their children forced to live in a nuclear wasteland. We must make it personal.