President Trump has been attacking Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and threatening North Korea to such an extent recently that diplomacy appears all but impossible. However, Trump’s reportedly been offered a lifeline — in the form of former President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter — in order to stave off a possible nuclear altercation.
The news arrives soon after Carter’s own op-ed in the Denver Post, where he wrote that that a second Korean War would cause unfathomable harm on the region and is “the most serious existing threat to world peace,” making it imperative for North Korea and the U.S. “to ease the escalating tension and reach a lasting, peaceful agreement.”
Carter goes on to describe what he’s learned from his own diplomatic work with North Korea in the decades since he left office:
What the officials have always demanded is direct talks with the United States, leading to a permanent peace treaty to replace the still-prevailing 1953 cease-fire that has failed to end the Korean conflict. They want an end to sanctions, a guarantee that there will be no military attack on a peaceful North Korea, and eventual normal relations between their country and the international community.
Carter continues by saying that even with famine and food shortages, the North Korean people mostly fear an attack by the United States and that the U.S. foreign policy decisions in places like Libya and Iran all but assure that North Korean would never agree to scrap its nuclear program.
Carter ends his op-ed by suggesting a “high-profile delegation” travel to Pyongyang or to a multi-country summit in the region. According to The Guardian, the former president has already volunteered to be part of such a delegation.
Unfortunately for Carter, the Trump administration has asked him to not talk publicly about North Korea because it would undermine the White House. Carter’s op-ed flies in the face of reports that a senior State Department official personally visited Carter at his home in Georgia to deliver that news.
However, Carter’s successfully reached diplomatic agreements with North Korea in the past. Both times he worked with Park Han-shik, an international affairs professor at the University of Georgia. According to Park, North Korea is considering Carter’s idea:
“We have yet to get answers from the North Koreans, but I’m sure they’re giving it deep consideration,” Park told the Yonhap news agency.
“We still have to watch North Korea’s reaction. We might be able talk with Trump again if North Korea sends an official invitation. Should Trump steadfastly oppose the idea then we have to think about what we’ll do next.”
It’s time to find out who is more reasonable: Kim Jong-Un or Donald Trump.