A ROK Drop favorite Dr. Andrei Lankov has an article published in NK News that once again advocates for a “freeze deal” with North Korea:
Of course, it is politically impossible to be excessively frank about such a plan, as the admission that North Korea is a de facto nuclear state would damage international non-proliferation efforts and bring about a tidal wave of virtue signaling behavior from U.S. hard-liners, including many legislators.
To cushion these problems, a freeze deal will have to be presented as merely the “first step on the long and winding road to North Korea’s denuclearization” which will surely happen at some point in a rather distant future.
So far, the idea of a freeze, while widely discussed among the mid-level officials, remains a taboo at the higher levels of the U.S. bureaucracy. This is vital: this is exactly the levels where such decisions have to be made.
This author is skeptical about the immediate prospects of a freeze. It will take some time (probably, years) before U.S. decision makers get over their natural tendency to deny the unpleasant truth. Nonetheless, serious discussion of a freeze as a theoretical possibility has already begun, and numerous opponents of this idea have already made good arguments about what is problematic about such a plan.
Unfortunately, in spite of being a long-time proponent of the freeze idea, I cannot help but admit that many of their arguments are correct, but on balance, there are still valid reasons to accept the freeze solution as a deal which, while flawed and imperfect, is still better than its alternatives. [NK News]
You can read more at the link, but as I have said before I think any freeze deal should include robust inspections and the risk of a retaliatory bombing strike if it is not complied with. The risk of war on the peninsula by noncompliance by the Kim regime would give motivation to the Chinese to make sure the Kim regime is complying with the deal.