Archive

Tag Archives: South Korea


Vice, David Gilbert, 22 March 2019

“The sudden decision by North Korea to remove its officials from the liaison office is no doubt aimed at the Moon Jae-in administration, which is keen to push peace talks forward,” John Hemmings, Asia Director at the Henry Jackson Society, a British foreign policy think tank, told VICE News. “It’s really a less-than-subtle attempt to split Washington and Seoul over the added sanctions.”


What Happens Next in U.S.-North Korea Relations

RTX6GXS6

The National Interest, 12 March, 2019

No doubt those North Korea experts who predicted that the Hanoi Summit would fail, have found cold comfort in the news over the past two weeks. The apparent collapse of the summit seemed to come partly as a result of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s unwillingness to put more of North Korea’s programme on the table. Failure also stemmed partly from the Trump administration’s apparent walk-back from the step-by-step approach. There are really two questions that have arisen from Hanoi’s failure: “what went wrong?” and “what next?” In attempting to answer the latter question, one must ask whether we will return to the tense period that marked the early part of the Trump administration, with North Korea and the United States shadow-boxing over U.S. attempts to impose an effective economic blockade.

Already, we are beginning to see emerging (or re-emerging) signs of that more familiar relationship dynamic, with the North Koreans apparently restoring facilities at a long-range rocket launch site it had dismantled last year. The revelation—acquired on March 2 from commercial satellite imagery—was discussed in a recent event at Center for Strategic and International Studies, where Victor Cha and Joseph Bermudez showed how the rail mounted transfer structure and vertical test engine stands at Sohae launch facility had been restored over a matter of days. Given that the site had been dormant since August 2018, it has been suggested by many North Korea experts that we are due a return to the provocation cycle that has characterized North Korean tactics for so long.

When one looks at the U.S. position, one can also see signs that the United States is returning to a hardline posture. For instance, take Trump’s allegations that North Korea wanted sanctions lifted in their entirety and his statement at the press conference immediately after Hanoi. There are also those who point to the recent shift in the Trump administration’s negotiating strategy from a step-by-step approach to a “go big” approach. Special Representative Steve Biegun’s shift in this direction is likely to doom future progress by making the choice between unilateral disarmament and doubling down on the nuclear weapons strategy. A third—and as of yet, unstated, question—is can the United States persuade regional partners and allies to re-exert “Maximum Pressure” after the long interval? This question takes on even more salience when one considers how far things have drifted between South Korea and its traditional partners, Japan and the United States.

In a report co-authored by Henry Jackson Society and others last year, an expert panel predicted three future scenarios; a best-case scenario, a middle-of-the-road, and a worst-case scenario. This last scenario saw a breakdown of negotiations, followed by a breakdown in regional support for the U.S. “maximum pressure.” We see signs of this third scenario emerging.

One hopes the administration will approach this new stage with great care and diplomatic acumen.


North Korea and America’s Second Summit: Here’s What John Hemmings Thinks Will Happen

RTX68O7F

The National Interest, 06 February, 2019

It is unlikely that President Donald Trump will be able to convince North Korea to lay down its nuclear weapons system, despite some excellent—if unorthodox—displays of diplomacy. Trump’s approach in the North Korean negotiations has been distinct and offered a combination of pressure, unpredictability, flexibility, respect-culture, and cultivation of the personal touch.

The “maximum pressure” approach toward North Korea was unprecedented, not merely in the sanctions—particularly secondary sanctions—field, but also in the sector of military pressure. For all the decades of American experts telling us that China had no leverage in North Korea, Trump proved that pressure applied to on Chinese could be very effective, indeed. Presidents Obama and Clinton had asked Beijing to help them. It made North Korea America’s problem. Trump raised the spectre of war on China’s doorstep. Suddenly, it made North Korea China’s problem. North Korea quickly folded under the double pressure.

The real question is can Trump deliver? While the summit at Singapore had little meaning in real terms, it was the starting gun in a long, drawn-out process in which we have seen both signs maneuver with much fanfare, but with little actual progress. We also now have the spectre of the second summit (in Vietnam), announced during Trump’s State of the Union address. Seen against the light of Kim’s own New Year’s Day address, it is unclear where the two can compromise. In his address, Kim summarized North Korea’s economic situation—in terms of the second part of his Byungjin policy—now called the “new strategic line.” While this appears to emphasize North Korea’s economy, it is unclear whether or not the North believes this will entail denuclearization as the United States understands it.

In the speech, there are other “promising” signs that are actually quite worrying. First, he portrays North Korea as a responsible nuclear weapons possessor, which strongly hints at his continued belief in an India-style deal whereby he is allowed to keep his weapons. Second, it is becoming increasingly clear that the North Korean regime is confident it can de-link the United States from its South Korean ally, something to which the progressive Moon Jae-in government’s deal-at-any-cost approach has unwittingly contributed. Given the country’s role in hosting U.S. troops and upholding sanctions, it is a vital part in sustaining Washington’s maximum pressure campaign should talks fail. The North Korean leader’s confidence is a disconcerting sign of the unraveling of the U.S. position. Whether Donald Trump can rectify these structural issues remains to be seen.


Even if it fails, the North Korean peace summit is an incredible breakthrough

TELEMMGLPICT000161689807_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqXXJnULV8Fx6naLiD5tbdC8gW5s0liIzlYNLrC7Vd_Og.jpg

The Telegraph, 26 April, 2018

What took place this morning in the Panmunjom Joint Security Area an incredible moment in Korean history. Even after years watching the ratcheting tensions between North and South Korea, I found myself a little awed.

In one clip doing the rounds this morning, both Northern and Southern leaders meet on a large screen, with journalists in the press pool watching. The ascending roar of surprise and acclamation when they stepped across the border, hand in hand, was moving in itself.

We watched Kim Jong-un, the leader of a murderous regime, smilingly step over a simple concrete marker and into South Korean territory. Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s progressive president, was in his element, with a welcoming and warm smile.

Then they even stepped back over into North Korea, to the amusement and pleasure of both. It was a testimony to the fact that all political walls are , in the end, only human.

Several months ago, denuclearisation was not even on the table. Today, however improbably, it is. Even if nothing comes of this meeting, it’s significant that we are even at this point.

But what are the actual prospects for a lasting peace? The opening point of the statement released by both leaders was a promise to re-open people-to-people links, and a number of steps were taken to institutionalise relations at certain flashpoints, such as the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea.

Most importantly, it agreed that a peace treaty between the two is on the cards, to be signed within a year, committing Moon to a visit to Pyongyang in the Autumn. Dr Ramon Pacheco Pardo, senior lecturer at Kings College London, said this was certainly the most consequential element of the agreement. It “would not only allow a formal end to the Korean War, but also allow for a new framework for inter-Korean relations”. The US and China would also have to be involved in this process, as two of the parties to the 1953 Armistice.

In terms of denuclearisation, both agree that this is a desirable goal and one that both sides want. But the term “disarmament” is also mentioned, perhaps indicating some hint of a reduction of ROK forces and US forces. Time will tell what this means, and we will have to see how this issue is framed during the Trump-Kim meeting, expected to take place in Singapore sometime in late June.

As some have argued, it was a necessary step, but not a sufficient one. Pardo stated that this cautious optimism was palpable in South Korea. “On the streets of Seoul, this is seen as a positive, hopeful and feasible agreement, but there is still caution about North Korea’s commitment to this process.”

As weary American diplomats have been known to say about North Korea in the past, “we’ve bought this horse before”. The Six Party Talks in the mid-Noughties came within a whisker of resolving the crisis, only to fail at North Korea’s refusal to have third party verification over their denuclearisation process.

Having said that, one need only think of where things stood this time four months ago to realize that progress is being made, and jaw-jaw is better than war-war.

Jeremy S. Maxie

Energy & Political Risk Consultant

In Pace

Peace in Korea and beyond

southseaconversations 讨论南海

China comments on the South (China) Sea disputes

Christopher Phillips

Academic, Writer, Commentator

tokyocooney

(does america)

Philosophical Politics

political philosophy of current events

Minh Thi's blog

pieces of me

North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

National Post

Canadian News, World News and Breaking Headlines

TIME

Current & Breaking News | National & World Updates

Moscow-on-Thames

Sam Greene - London & Moscow

kirstyevidence

Musings on research, international development and other stuff

The Rights Angle

Francesca Pizzutelli's blog on human rights and human beings

Bayard & Holmes

If you're in a fair fight, you're using poor tactics

Grand Blog Tarkin

A roundtable of strategists from across all space and time.

Sky Dancing

a place to discuss real issues

My Blog

My WordPress Blog

mkseparatistreport

A Blog Focused on Bringing Policy and Chinese language Translations Relating to Separatists and Terrorism

playwithlifeorg

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

Variety as Life Spice

Being a blogger is like an artist, except with a brush and a canvas, but with a laptop, to add a dazzling array of colour to the website

KURT★BRINDLEY

   novelist ★ poet ★ screenwriter ★ blogger

Foreign Policy

the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Top 10 of Anything and Everything - The Fun Top Ten Blog

Animals, Gift Ideas, Travel, Books, Recycling Ideas and Many, Many More

Eleanor Yamaguchi

Specialist in Japanese History and Culture

ABDALLAH ATTALLAH

Futurist | Disruptor | Coach | Reformer

Small House Bliss

Small house designs with big impact

Europe Asia Security Forum

European perspectives on Asian security, and vice-versa

Shashank Joshi

Royal United Services Institute | Harvard University

secretaryclinton.wordpress.com/

A PRIVATE BLOG DEVOTED TO FOREIGN POLICY & THE SECRETARY OF STATE

Adventures in (Post) Gradland

Thoughts on life after the PhD

springdaycomedy

Just another WordPress.com site

James Strong

Junior academic working on British foreign policy

Justice in Conflict

On the challenges of pursuing justice

Dr Andrew Delatolla

International Relations