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Leading U.S. Nuclear Expert to Trump: You Must Talk to North Korea

Jan. 13, 2017 (EIRNS)—Dr. Siegfried Hecker, the emeritus director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, now at Stanford, is one of America’s leading experts on nuclear weapons, and has been deeply involved in negotiations with North Korea since 2004. Tody. Hecker issued a strident appeal to Trump to immediately open up negotiations with North Korea as the necessary step to prevent an unnecessary war in Asia. He also exposed the failed and destructive policies of both the GW Bush Administration and the Obama Administration, showing that their failed policies are in fact RESPONSIBLE for North Korea’s nuclear weapon program.

Although Hecker doesn’t mention it, his appeal comes in the context of North Korea sending out several feelers to the Trump team that they are open to discussions, emphasizing that the only reason they are building nuclear weapons is because the U.S. is threatening to do to them what was done to Iraq and Libya.

Hecker writes today in an op-ed in the NY Times:

"After decades of broken policies toward Pyongyang, talking to the North Koreans is the best option for the Trump administration at this late date to limit the growing threat."

He explains that he has witnessed first hand the development of the North Korean nuclear weapons program since his first visit to North Korea in 2004.

He reviews the failed history under Bush and Obama:

"North Korea broke out to build the bomb because President George W. Bush was determined to kill President Bill Clinton’s 1994 Agreed Framework, a bilateral agreement with the North to freeze and eventually dismantle the North’s nuclear program."

He describes how "hard-liners in the Bush administration" (meaning Dick Cheney, without naming him), found excuses to kill the program, leading to Bush backing China’s "Six Party Talks," which, in 2005, reached an agreement for Pyongyang to dismantle their nuclear weapons program, but when

"the Bush administration concurrently slapped financial sanctions on Pyongyang, the North Koreans walked out of the six-party talks and responded with their first nuclear test in October 2006."

Hecker then reports that Obama made things even worse: "Obama was also unwilling to engage directly with Pyongyang, insisting instead that the North denuclearize before starting talks," while imposing ever tighter sanctions and preparing for war, while holding China responsible.

Over the years, North Korea showed Hecker its plutonium and its modern uranium centrifuge facility, as a message to the U.S. that they would pay a price if they were invaded.

He concludes:

"These sensitive nuclear issues require focused discussions in a small, closed setting. This cannot be achieved at a multilateral negotiating table, such as the six-party talks. Mr. Trump should send a presidential envoy to North Korea. Talking is not a reward or a concession to Pyongyang and should not be construed as signaling acceptance of a nuclear-armed North Korea. Talking is a necessary step to re-establishing critical links of communication to avoid a nuclear catastrophe.... He would most likely get China’s support, which is crucial because Beijing prefers talking to more sanctions. He would also probably get support for bilateral talks from Seoul, Tokyo and Moscow.... Talking will help inform a better negotiating strategy that may eventually convince the young leader [Kim Jong-un] that his country and his regime are better off without nuclear weapons."