Mitt Romney on North Korea
Campaign Foreign Policy
In November of 2011, Governor Romney's campaign released a white paper for foreign policy. North Korea was one of the countries in that foreign policy paper.
North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is a serious menace to world peace. A nuclear weapons capability in the hands of an unpredictable dictator like Kim Jong-Il or his eventual successor poses a direct threat to U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere in East Asia, threatens our close allies South Korea and Japan, destabilizes the entire Pacific region, and could lead to the illicit transfer of a nuclear device to another rogue nation or a terrorist group. As president, Mitt Romney will commit to eliminating North Korea’s nuclear weapons and its nuclear- weapons infrastructure.
A key mistake in U.S. policy toward North Korea has been to grant it a series of carrots in return for only illusory cooperation. Each step the world has taken toward North Korea has been met with further provocations and expansion of its nuclear program. Over the years, North Korea has found that its pursuit of a nuclear weapon reaps it material and diplomatic rewards, taking away any incentive for it to end its program.
Mitt Romney will reverse that dynamic. The United States will make it unequivocally clear to Pyongyang that continued advancement of its nuclear program and any aggression will be punished instead of rewarded. Romney will work with allies to institute harsher sanctions on North Korea, such as cracking down on financial institutions that service the North Korean regime and sanctioning companies that conduct commercial shipping in and out of North Korea. He will also step up enforcement of the Proliferation Security Initiative to constrain North Korean illicit exports by increasing the frequency of inspections of North Korean ships and discouraging foreign ports from permitting entry to North Korean ships. Such measures would significantly block the trade revenue that props up the North Korean regime and shut off routes by which the regime supplies its nuclear program.
China holds significant political and economic leverage over North Korea. It is not using that leverage, however, to achieve the goal of ending North Korea’s nuclear program. China fears a destabilized North Korea and the implications of its possible collapse for the region along its border. Romney will work to persuade China to commit to North Korea’s disarmament. He will reassure China it will not be alone in dealing with the humanitarian and security issues that will arise should North Korea disintegrate. This will involve detailed planning for such an eventuality to ensure that we are ready to deal with the numerous issues that will arise if and when the North Korean regime collapses under the weight of its own economic and political contradictions. Romney will also pursue robust military and counter-proliferation cooperation with our allies and others in the Pacific region. As the United States invigorates our relationships with South Korea, Japan, and others, and increases our collective military presence and cooperation, it should demonstrate to the Chinese that they should join the coordinated effort or be left behind as a regional counter-proliferation partner.