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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Dec. 1)

All News 07:04 December 01, 2017

North Korea's final choice
Pyongyang should come unconditionally to negotiating table

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is mistaken if he believes that the world will accept his pariah nation as a nuclear state hands down.

The young dictator obviously thinks nuclear weapons and missiles are his trump card for survival but the likelihood is that they are his death warrant.

The only way out is to come, without conditions and in haste, to the negotiating table to discuss the dismantling of his programs for weapons of mass destruction.

The North declared Wednesday that it has perfected its missile and nuclear program after test-firing a long-range missile that could strike anywhere in the entire United States and much of the world. There is, however, no way of knowing whether the North has made progress in payload miniaturization and re-entry technology.

The United States asked China to cut off oil supplies to the North. Beijing has already reduced fuel supplies by one third to Pyongyang. Without Chinese oil, it is a matter of time before the North becomes energy-starved and rendered dysfunctional.

Although some Chinese media outlets accused the United States of causing the North to test by relisting it as a state sponsoring terrorism, China is left with few excuses to resist Washington's drive to toughen sanctions on Pyongyang.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping was humiliated when Kim recently refused to meet his special envoy. Xi, who wants China to become a world leader, can't afford to be seen as a backer of the rogue state.

The U.S. could go after companies and banks that have dealings with the North more vigorously. This would deal a fatal blow that even the North, a state that is accustomed to living in hardship, couldn't bear for long.

President Moon Jae-in, the progressive leader who is "friendly" to Pyongyang, has been left with no choice but to stand with the U.S. to put maximum pressure on the North. Moon already disclosed his intentions Wednesday.

The North may press on with an even more outrageous test of a missile that is fired on a more "normal" angle to fly the actual distance of over 10,000 kilometers perhaps with a nuclear payload.

With that test, Kim may hope the world will become scared of a nuclear-armed North and bullied to pay protection money to guarantee his regime's security and boost its economic viability.

A more likely scenario is that other countries in the region will arm themselves with nuclear weapons, while strengthening their collective effort to end the North. Pyongyang's young dictator should know that nuclear weapons may raise his notoriety but won't get it cash or food. The instant it threatens to use these doomsday devices against others, the North risks complete annihilation.

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