On March 21, 2018, Dr. John Lenczowski, founder and president of The Institute of World Politics (IWP), and Dr. Gilbert Rozman, senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), spoke with Ms. Greta Van Susteren of Voice of America about important considerations regarding the upcoming summit between President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong-Un of North Korea. President Trump recently accepted an invitation to meet with Kim Jong-Un in the near future.
Dr. Rozman explained that the Kim regime is looking for international legitimacy, either through its nuclear weapons or other means. Dr. Lenczowski argued that the source of tensions between North Korea and the U.S. is the nature of the regime as opposed to the physical nuclear weapons.
Both experts warned that peace with North Korea is a long road and that it is best to accept incremental improvements instead of holding out for one large, immediate solution. Dr. Rozman emphasized that any chance at diplomacy would require the North Koreans to take the first step, and then other countries could work to shape the process. Dr. Lenczowski warned that North Korea treats summit diplomacy as political warfare, and that the North Koreans will take advantage of U.S. public opinion polls.
Dr. Lenczowski said that while diplomacy is underway, the U.S. should engage in a policy of “credible deterrence.” This policy would involve bulked up missile defense systems and a hardened electrical grid that could withstand an aerial nuclear attack. He also emphasized that public diplomacy and a focus on North Korean human rights should be another path forward and that this idea has been supported by defectors from North Korea.
Dr. Rozman pointed out that the U.S. could take advantage of the pride of the different countries in the region as a way to move the talks forward while keeping discussion open.
Dr. Lenczowski was a key proponent of Voice of America when he served on President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council.
Dr. Gilbert Rozman is a Senior Fellow with FPRI’s Asia Program. (IWP Dean Dr. Mackubin Owens, is also affiliated with FPRI as the editor for FPRI’s publication Orbis.) Dr. Rozman is also the editor-in-chief of The Asan Forum, a bi-monthly, online journal on international relations in the Asia-Pacific region. He is the Emeritus Musgrave Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, where he spent 43 years on the faculty. He specializes on Northeast Asia, including China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea.