Project Syndicate: How South Korea could defuse U.S.-North Korea tensions

CAMBRIDGE (Project Syndicate) — As North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump’s war of words escalates, Independence Day celebrations — commemorating the Korean Peninsula’s 1945 liberation from Japanese colonial rule — are unfolding in both North and South Korea. The occasion underscores not just the shared history between the two countries, but also the South’s unique qualifications to bring about a peaceful resolution to the current military standoff.

As much as Kim may enjoy threatening the most powerful country in the world, the United States has never been North Korea’s primary target. On the contrary, the North’s real objective has always been to ensure the survival of the Kim regime and, in the longer term, to secure the reunification of the Korean Peninsula under that regime’s leadership.

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