After the Obama administration’s groundbreaking nuclear deal with Iran, there have been calls to replicate that pact with North Korea, a rogue state that already has nuclear-weapons capability.
From Washington to Beijing, analysts and policymakers have been talking about the agreement as a possible “blueprint” for negotiations with Pyongyang.
But Kim Jong Un’s regime has made it clear that it expects to be accepted as a nuclear power — saying this month it is “not interested” in an Iran-style deal. The Obama administration is instead focusing on human rights to further isolate North Korea, encouraged by the outbursts this approach has elicited from Kim’s stubbornly recalcitrant regime — apparently because the accusations cast aspersions at the leader and his legitimacy.
“There is a growing assumption that the North Koreans are not going to surrender their nukes,” Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert based in Seoul, said after recent meetings with officials in Washington. Human rights are Washington’s “next political infatuation,” he said.