Kim Jong-un’s quest for nuclear weapons and inter-continental missiles is rational. The ability to strike American allies, South Korea and Japan, and even the United States itself with nuclear weapons is the most obvious deterrent against any effort to end his regime. If the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons were easy to solve, the problem would have been solved long ago. In addressing the threat from North Korea, a very real threat in which the North Korean’s could develop ICBMs that could deliver nuclear weapons to the American mainland, the United States must confront two very difficult challenges.
First, the U.S. cannot act unilaterally, especially if it acts alone, without risking a devastating country strike against South Korea. Hundreds of thousands of people or more could be killed in Seoul, which is within the range of conventional weapons from North Korea. If South Korea suffered such a large loss of life as a result of a basically unilateral American strike, it would be the end not only of the South Korean-U.S. alliance but of NATO as well. No country will tie itself to the United States if the United States through its own actions can take measures that would result in hundreds of thousands of citizens in other countries being killed.
Second, China is the only country that might—and the key word here is “might”—be able to engineer a leadership change in North Korea and an end to the North Korean nuclear and missile program. If China were confident that it could alter the leadership in North Korea and introduce Chinese-like policies for economic development, it probably would have done so long ago. A greater role for China, which the Trump administration has embraced, is not a guarantee of success but it is the only possible path to success.
Source: for MORE