Diplomacy between North Korea and the US has made major progress this year, but also has had some problems. One of the biggest sources of tension was suggestion from some US officials that North Korea should follow the “Libya model.”
Since Libya’s disarmament was followed in a few years by a NATO attack and a violent regime change with the death of Moammar Gadhafi, that wasn’t taken well by North Korea. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now suggesting another example in Vietnam.
While this model didn’t involve any denuclearization, as with North Korea,the US fought a very bloody war with Vietnam. After the end of the Vietnam War, the US and Vietnam ultimately had a successful rapprochement, and now have close ties.
This could be an appealing model for North Korea to follow, as it would suggest both the end of the war, something North Korea has long sought in the Korean War, which began in 1950, and a rapprochement with close trade ties.
At the same time, the Vietnam example could be interpreted as a model wherein the nation defeats the US militarily, and after the US pullout, they eventually sought new ties with Vietnam which, after a couple of decades, led to trade.
The model of trying to defeat the US in a war clearly isn’t intended to be what North Korea takes from this. On the other hand, it’s not clear what action it is intended to inform North Korea to take, as they’ve already sought a peace deal to end the Korean War, and seem quite interested in having some trade internationally.
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