October 11, 2017

Analysis: Nobel says to Korea nuke players: We are watching

BANGKOK (AP) – They couldn’t award it to Kim Jong Un or Donald Trump. That much was certain.

But the granting of the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons opened itself to a clear interpretation across Asia: When it comes to the nuclear-saturated war of words on the Korean Peninsula, attention must be paid and treaties must be signed. And it must be done in a preventative way, at top speed, before something happens that can’t be undone.

Looming in the background of the award announcement Friday was the sometimes scalding, sometimes tepid, never silent geopolitical scuffle this year between the young leader of the third-generation Pyongyang regime and the always voluble president of the United States.

Even the Nobel committee’s language keyed in on that. It sounded like a plaintive cry to push parties to the negotiating table – to fix something that’s already cracked before it’s completely, irreversibly shattered.

The head of the group listed an assortment of the world’s nuclear nations when she spoke after the win. But it was easy to find significance in the two she mentioned before all others – North Korea and the United States.

And this was the immediate assessment from a Nobel historian: “The panel wants to send a signal to North Korea and the U.S. that they need to go into negotiations.” The prize, Oeivind Stenersen suggested, was also “coded support” of the Iran nuclear deal.