The Center for International Policy’s Selig Harrison has a solution to the problem of North Korean bellicosity – force our South Korean allies to make concessions on issues not in play:
The Northern Limit Line was so named because it was meant to impose a limit on any potential South Korean encroachment into North Korea. The South’s president, Syngman Rhee, still dreamed of winning the war — he refused to sign the armistice — and repeatedly vowed to overthrow the Pyongyang regime.
Rhee’s hopes were never realized, but one thing the Northern Limit Line did was to give the best fishing grounds in the area to South Korea. It’s no coincidence that many of the clashes there have occurred during the summer crab-fishing season. If the boundary were refashioned in a more equitable way, tensions would undoubtedly ease.
And, fortunately, President Obama has the authority to redraw the line. On July 7, 1950, a United Nations Security Council resolution established the United Nations Command for Korea and designated the United States as the executive agent, with authority to name its commander. That original command is still with us today in vestigial form. It is commanded by Gen. Walter Sharp, who is thus the current successor to Gen. Mark Clark, who signed the 1953 armistice.
The Obama administration would do well to consult with both Seoul and Pyongyang on where to best set the new boundary, get an agreement from both governments to abide by it, and put it on the map. South Korea should not be given a veto over the redrawing. And North Korea should be warned that any future provocations on its part like the shelling of Yeonpyeong will result in swift, appropriate retaliation by the joint forces of the United States and South Korea.
Ideally, redrawing the line would not only ease the present crisis, but also set the stage for negotiations among the United States, North Korea and China on a peace treaty that would replace the temporary armistice and formally end the Korean War.
All that this would serve to do is to embolden our already maniacally energized enemies while enraging our allies.
Some people never learn.