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"Constructive Destruction" May Be the Ultimate Approach to North Korea

February 3, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman
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West 2010 Wednesday First AM Panel: Dr. Katy OhThe recalcitrant regime in North Korea seems so bent on confrontation and allergic to reform that the only option for the global community may be to manage its end. That was a point of view introduced in a panel on North Korea at West 2010. Dr. Katy Oh, a research staff member with the Institute for Defense Analyses and a non-resident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, said that North Korea would not give up its nuclear weapons because they are its platinum card-"it's all they have to play." These nuclear weapons are a symptom of the regime's problem. She also said that waiting for the Kim Jong Il regime to go away is not the best and brightest option. "They have a black belt in survival," she analogized. She offered four options: continue to conduct diplomacy with the goal of increasing international pressure on North Korea; increase intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance of the country-both technical and human; ensure a strong deterrence against North Korean aggression; and constructive destruction if the regime turns murderous. South Korea is working hard to prepare for unexpected changes in North Korea's situation, she added. And, the unexpected may determine any chance at reunification, much as it did in the early 1990s in Germany.

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