North Korea has reportedly approached both South Korea’s new president, and China’s foreign ministry on making a proposed deal, in which North Korea would agree to a temporary freeze of all nuclear and conventional missile tests, in return for the US reducing its military footprint on the Korean Peninsula.
Multiple variations on this theme have been proposed, according to those familiar with the situation, over the past several months, and both China and South Korea have brought versions to the US for consideration. The administration is said to be under growing pressure to at least discuss the idea.
So far, however, the White House is ruling such proposals out without any discussion, saying they are “not interested” in anything that would require the US to in any way ease “military or economic pressure.” Rather US officials are said to have responded by pressing China to “do more” to force North Korea to give in outright.
Bur China has long favored a diplomatic path on North Korea to a confrontational one, and now that South Korea’s new government is also pro-diplomacy, it’s going to be increasingly difficult for the White House to slough off serious proposals out of hand, and expect that both China and South Korea will continue to view this as a North Korea problem, as opposed to an America problem.