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更新时间:2018-3-12 18:21:28 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

7 Big Things to Understand About Trump’s Talks With North Korea

President Donald Trump has accepted North Korea’s invitation for direct talks with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, to be held by May. It’s a big deal, but you’re probably wondering how big a deal, what it means and how to think about it.


It’s impossible to say for sure. But here are seven things I’ve learned in the past few years from covering North Korea, diplomacy and, more recently, the Trump administration’s unusual approach to foreign policy.


1. Short term, it reduces the risk of war.

1. 短期内,它降低了战争的风险。

Even just preparing for talks changes North Korean and U.S. incentives in ways that make us all less likely to be obliterated in a fiery nuclear inferno. That’s good!


The biggest risk was probably always an accident or miscalculation that slid into unintended war, or maybe a unilateral U.S. strike that escalated out of control.


This more or less takes those scenarios off the table. Both sides now have reason to reduce rather than increase tensions, to read one another’s actions as peaceful rather than hostile and to preserve the diplomatic efforts in which both have invested political capital.


Still, that only lasts until the talks themselves.


2. Mismatched signals may have set up the talks to fail.

2. 不匹配的信号可能给会谈失败埋下伏笔。

Usually, before high-level talks like these, both sides spend a long time telegraphing their expected outcomes.


Such signals serve as public commitments, both to the other side of the negotiation and to citizens back home. It’s a way for both sides to test each other’s demands and offers, reducing the risk of surprise or embarrassment.


That is not really how things have proceeded with the United States and North Korea. Trump has already committed to granting North Korea one of its most desired concessions: a high-level meeting between the heads of state.


In exchange, North Korea has not publicly committed to anything. It has, quite cannily, channeled its public communications through South Korea, making it easier to renege.


Further, Trump has declared “denuclearization” as his minimal acceptable outcome for talks, making it harder for him to accept a more modest (but more achievable!) outcome and costlier for him to walk away.


3. The sides do not agree on the point of talking.

3. 双方就谈判要点没有达成共识。

It’s worth belaboring the costs of skipping the usual process of mutual public signaling.


South Korean officials have said Kim is willing to enter talks for “denuclearization” — there’s that word again — which is perhaps why Trump seems to believe this will happen.


But Duyeon Kim, a Seoul-based analyst, writes in a column in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that “denuclearization” means vastly different things to the United States and North Korea.

但首尔分析师金杜妍(Duyeon Kim,音)在《原子科学家公报》(Bulletin of Atomic Scientists)的专栏中写道,“无核化”对于美国和朝鲜意味着截然不同的事情。

Americans understand the word as describing North Korea’s full nuclear disarmament, which is very difficult to imagine happening.


But North Koreans, she writes, tend to mean it as a kind of mutual and incremental disarmament in which the United States also gives up weapons.


Normally, the United States and North Korea would have issued months, even years, of public statements on their goals for direct talks, to clear all this up.


But, again, the Americans have made splashy public commitments while letting the North Koreans get by without doing the same.


4. The Trump administration has gotten the process backward.

4. 特朗普政府把过程弄反了。

It’s practically an axiom of international diplomacy that you only bring heads of state together at the very end of talks, after lower-level officials have done the dirty work.


Negotiators need to be free to back down from demands. Or to contradict themselves. Or to play good cop, bad cop. Or to walk away. Lower-level officials can lose face or sacrifice credibility for the sake of talks. Heads of state are much too constrained.


Robert E. Kelly, a professor at South Korea’s Pusan National University, wrote on Twitter that, in a more typical process, “there would be a series of concessions and counterconcessions building trust and credibility over time (likely years) eventually rising to a serious discussion of denuclearization.”

韩国釜山国立大学(Pusan National University)的教授罗伯特·E·克利(Robert E. Kelly)在推特上写道,在更典型的程序中,“会有一系列的让步和拒绝让步,随着时间的推移(可能是数年),逐步建立信任和信誉,最终上升到一场严肃的无核化讨论。”

Instead, the Trump administration is jumping straight to the last step.


5. The State Department is in a shambles.

5. 美国国务院一片混乱。

Wouldn’t this be a good moment to have a U.S. ambassador to South Korea? Or an undersecretary of state for arms control and international security?


Both posts are empty. The desk for assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs is occupied by a respected but interim official who has clashed with the White House. Her boss, the undersecretary for political affairs, is retiring.


6. Everything could turn on the president’s personality.

6. 一切都可能取决于总统的个性。

Trump’s headstrong personalization of North Korea policy may be the most significant aspect of all this.


It means that talks and their outcome will be determined, to an unprecedented degree, by Trump’s personal biases and impulses. By his mood at the time of talks. By his particular style of negotiation.


When legislative efforts have stalled, Trump has at times lashed out. In domestic politics, that can mean publicly denigrating his target or pressuring them to resign. In a heavily militarized standoff between nuclear powers, the stakes would be higher.


“If Trump gets all valedictory over simple willingness to talk, he may also tack hard in the other direction when hopes are dashed,” Mira Rapp-Hooper, a senior fellow at the Center for New American Security, wrote on Twitter.

“如果特朗普把简单的对话愿意当做毕业典礼致辞一样严肃对待,那么当希望破灭的时候,他可能会全力冲往另一个方向,”新美国安全中心(Center for a New American Security)的高级研究员米拉·拉普-胡珀(Mira Rapp-Hooper)在Twitter上写道。

7. North Korea has already achieved a symbolic victory.

7. 朝鲜已经取得了象征性的胜利。

For North Korea, high-level talks are a big win in their own right. Kim seeks to transform his country from a rogue pariah into an established nuclear power, a peer to the United States, a player on the international stage.


That wins Kim international acknowledgment and heightened status, as well as significant domestic credibility.


“Kim is not inviting Trump so that he can surrender North Korea’s weapons,” Jeffrey Lewis, a Korea expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, wrote on Twitter. “Kim is inviting Trump to demonstrate that his investment in nuclear and missile capabilities has forced the United States to treat him as an equal.”

“金正恩邀请特朗普不是为了让自己交出朝鲜的武器,”米德尔伯里国际研究学院(Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey)的朝鲜问题专家杰弗里·刘易斯(Jeffrey Lewis)在Twitter上写道。“金正恩邀请特朗普是为了证明,他对核武器和导弹能力的投资已经迫使美国给予了他平等对待。”

That’s been a North Korean priority since the 1990s.