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The confrontation between the United States and North Korea is in a more dangerous zone than at any point in decades. Each side has announced tough positions, issued threats and underscored that its positions are non-negotiable. Partly, it is the undisciplined approach that characterizes so many of this administration's policies, with top people freelancing and showboating.The denuclearization of North Korea right now is a fantasy.Joshua Cooper Ramo, co-CEO of Henry Kissinger's consulting firm, has shared a plan of his with me – one that has been circulating among officials in Washington – to convene an international conference on nuclear proliferation. All existing nuclear weapons states would agree not to test or expand their arsenals for some period of time – say, 36 months. North Korea would be invited to sign onto this agreement as a nuclear weapons state, with the idea of freezing progress for now and aiming to later denuclearize the country.It creates a global coalition that could be marshaled to sanction North Korea if it were to renege or cheat on its commitments, giving cover to China to truly clamp down on its ally. The plan also deals with Beijing's core security concerns: preventing the collapse of North Korea; and keeping South Korea and Japan from acquiring nuclear weapons.
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