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'Golden opportunity' for EU to take lead role in peace talks

The European Union needs to “make up its mind” on whether if it wants to take a leading role in efforts to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

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The EU could play a lead role in US-North Korea peace talks, Dr Pacheco Pardo believes

That’s the view of King’s College London academic, Dr Ramon Pacheco Pardo, who believes the new European Commission has a “golden opportunity to reverse years of inaction” by acting as a broker in negotiations between the United States and Kim Jong-un.

Writing for the Brussels-based think tank, Friends of Europe, Dr Pacheco Pardo said: “It is fair to say that Brussels is punching below its weight in the Korean Peninsula. It is true, of course, that for geographic and structural reasons Washington and Beijing are the major actors in the region.

“But that does not mean the European Union cannot do more to be a proactive player. First, that means undoing some of the self-inflicted mistakes of recent years.

“For instance, the interruption of the political dialogue, last held in 2015, means that Brussels has given up its best platform to discuss denuclearisation, peace or human rights directly with Pyongyang. Instead, European officials have to rely on second-hand accounts.”

Dr Pacheco Pardo, a reader in international relations in the Department of European and International Studies, added that, as well as acting as an intermediary, the EU also needed to “talk directly” to Pyongyang, with restored dialogue offering the chance for Brussels to share its concerns with leaders.

As well as financial support, European officials could offer diplomatic assistance for any potential peace deal, and offer technical assistance for nuclear disarmament.

Dr Pacheco Pardo said: “Above all, Brussels should make up its mind. Does it want to be a more relevant player in one of the crucial security issues in East Asia? If the answer is yes, the new commission has a golden opportunity to reverse years of inaction, and lead European efforts to support peace in the Korean Peninsula.”

It is fair to say that Brussels is punching below its weight in the Korean Peninsula.– Dr Ramon Pacheco Pardo

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Ramon Pacheco Pardo

Ramon Pacheco Pardo

Reader in International Relations