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Ex-U.S. negotiator calls for 'hard sanctions' on N. Korea

All News 09:05 January 22, 2016

By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- The United States should slap "hard sanctions" on North Korea to force it back to the nuclear negotiating table, a former American negotiator with the communist nation said Thursday.

Robert Gallucci, a former senior State Department official who negotiated a now-defunct 1994 denuclearization deal with Pyongyang, made the remark during a discussion at George Washington University, stressing that the problem shouldn't be left unattended any longer.

"One thing to do is slap hard sanctions on them. It's right to say that sanctions on North Korea are not as tough as sanctions we've applied to Iran, and we think those were important in the Iranian calculations, A, to negotiate B to make a deal," he said.

Gallucci said, however, that sanctions on the North would have limits because of China.

"Don't expect it to bring North Korea to their knees, or even to the negotiating table. Not as long as you have China, who, while sharing some views and interests to us, does not have congruent interest with us and does not want to see that regime so badly hurt it will fall, because that would present bigger problems to the Chinese than what they now have," Gallucci said.

"Consequently, sanctions would be limited in the potential impact, I would argue," he said.

Joel Wit, also a former State Department negotiator who is currently editor of the website 38 North, stressed that the U.S. should elevate the North Korea issue in its relationship with China, arguing that he believes it is more important than the South China Sea issue.

"What I would say is, the first thing we need to do, which we haven't done, is we need to elevate this issue to a much greater importance in the U.S.-Chinese relationship. Honestly, it hasn't been that important," he said.

"It needs to be elevated. Certainly in my perspective, more important than the South China Sea," he said. "Maybe more important than some of the other issues that are near the top of the list."


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