Seismic shift

30 05 2009

andrew_o'neilby Andrew O’Neil, ABC Unleashed (26 May 2009)

North Korea’s decision to conduct a second nuclear test this week will have significant repercussions for the future security of East Asia and the Asian region more generally.

In the short term, it will force regional states to dispense with the idea that Pyongyang’s nuclear program can be stopped. In the longer term, it will force these states to engage North Korea as a fully-fledged nuclear weapons power. Neither course is particularly palatable for any government in Asia. They both have the potential to dramatically – and irrevocably – recast Asia’s security environment. And, short of war to destroy the DPRK’s nuclear assets, they are both inescapable…

Make no mistake: the North Korean regime has an unbreakable strategic commitment to becoming an established nuclear weapons state in Asia. The sobering reality is that there is absolutely nothing the international community can do to prevent this from happening. So the fundamental question is: how should we engage North Korea as a nuclear-armed state?..

Ultimately, this is a test of the political resolve of the Obama administration and the extent to which Washington is willing to reinforce the credibility of extended deterrence in Asia. The second element of any new strategy must encompass constructive politico-security engagement with Pyongyang. This may sound like mission impossible in view of North Korea’s well established duplicity, but the temptation to further isolate North Korea in the wake of its second nuclear test must be resisted….

In dealing with an emerging nuclear state, one of the worst outcomes is deeper isolation of that country. Lines of communication must be kept open to avoid the ever present trap of misperception – pragmatism must rule over any desire to punish. Led by Washington, regional states must engage Pyongyang directly on issues relating to nuclear security and safety, including potential assistance to help safeguard against the accidental launching of nuclear weapons, and strongly pushing for a verifiable cap on the number of North Korean warheads….

The worst response to North Korea’s second test would be to try and resurrect the argument that Pyongyang can somehow be persuaded to de-link its nuclear weapons ambitions from its overall national security doctrine. The link is as “close as lips and teeth”, and persisting with the failed strategy of non-proliferation will only delay what is now inevitable: engaging North Korea as a nuclear weapons state.

See the full text here…

* Andrew O’Neil is associate professor of international relations at Flinders University. He is a chief investigator on the Australian Research Council project “Australia’s Nuclear Choices” and the author of Nuclear Proliferation in Northeast Asia: The Quest for Security (Palgrave Macmilan, New York, 2007).





North Korea: a silver lining

30 05 2009

BrendanTaylorby Brendan Taylor, ABC Unleashed (27 May 2009)

North Korea’s second nuclear test has drawn widespread international condemnation. Yet in the short run, little will change as a result of this development.

The international community will almost certainly impose a fresh round of sanctions against Pyongyang. But these measures will be very hard to enforce and will have little impact on a paranoid and reclusive Kim Jong-Il regime that seems intent on becoming Asia’s newest nuclear power. Ultimately, the world will have little choice but to try and coax North Korea back to the negotiating table. Another deal will be struck, which will subsequently be broken. In this nuclear crisis, the more things change the more they really do seem to remain the same.

Notwithstanding the international criticism which has been heaped on North Korea as a result of its latest nuclear test, however, the enduring ramifications of this development may not be altogether negative. Indeed, when viewed from a longer-term strategic perspective, there are at least three good reasons as to why there may well be a silver lining to the metaphorical mushroom cloud which currently lingers following Pyongyang’s latest provocation.

First, the nuclear test can only be good for relations between China and the United States….

Second, the North Korean nuclear test will also create further diplomatic distance between Beijing and Pyongyang…

Third, the North Korean nuclear test has also further diminished the prospects for any near-term reunification of the two Koreas…

Japan, however, seems destined to be the biggest loser in all of this. North Korea’s nuclear test will serve to further deepen Tokyo’s sense of insecurity vis-à-vis the missile and nuclear threat posed to it by the North. That is why Japan has taken such an assertive stance in responding to the test and why Tokyo is seeking tough measures through the United Nations…

See the full text here…

* Dr Brendan Taylor is a lecturer in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University. He is the author of American Sanctions in the Asia-Pacific (Routledge, forthcoming 2009).





Снова обсуждаем Северную Корею на “Серебряном Дожде” (прямо сейчас в прямом эфире!)

26 05 2009

Северная Корея – это всегда интересно! Радиостанция "Серебряный дождь" устроила прямой эфир (26 мая, понедельник, 20:00-21:00 МСК), где разговор идёт об этой уникальной стране . 

Один из ведущих радиостанции Михаил Козырев в своей программе "Мишанина" ведёт беседу о Северной Корее пытаясь сравнить КНДР с Нацистской Германией, а Ким Чен Ира с Гитлером. Меня опять пригласили в качетстве "эксперта" – я, правда, в Гонконге, так что если позвонят, слушайте прямо сейчас…

* Музыкальная радиостанция "Серебряный Дождь" вещает из Москвы. Слушать эту радиостанцию можно с сайта с битрейтом 24 kbit/s здесь. Если вы живёте в городе Москва, то для прослушивания Вам достаточно настроить свой радиоприёмник на частоту 100.1 FM. А ещё у этой радиостанции есть свой сайт – http://www.silver.ru/.


Надеюсь, что те, кто слушал, не остался разочарован. Ведущие Михаил Козырев и Наташа Олесик (в отличие от Собчак и Соколовой) не были связаны никакими ограничениями в отношении критики северокорейского режима и, мне показалось, постоянно пытались упростить все проблемы сведя их к личности "больного" Ким Чен-ира, "непредсказуемых" северных корейцев и т.д. Но усилиями слушателей и участвующих "экспертов" удалось создать что-то вроде объективной картины происходящего в регионе. Ведущие остались довольны, обещают ещё вернуться к северокорейской теме.

Из забавного: КНДР случайно назвали Канадской Народно-демократической Республикой… 





Визит по ракетной траектории – Глава МИД РФ посетил Пхеньян и Сеул

21 05 2009

Александр Габуев, Газета «Коммерсантъ»   № 73 (4128) от 23.04.2009 
 
В Пхеньяне и Сеуле Сергей Лавров может предложить партнерам вернуться к российской идее создания механизма мира и безопасности в Северо-Восточной Азии

Глава МИД России Сергей Лавров вчера отправился с визитом в КНДР и Южную Корею. В Сеуле главу МИД РФ примет президент Южной Кореи Ли Мен Бак, а в Пхеньяне он может встретиться с лидером КНДР Ким Чен Иром. В момент резкого обострения ситуации на Корейском полуострове Москва пытается блеснуть искусством посредничества. По информации "Ъ", в случае успеха своей миссии Сергей Лавров намерен продвигать российскую идею о подписании договора по безопасности для Северо-Восточной Азии. Впрочем, опрошенные "Ъ" эксперты оценивают шансы на успех визита весьма скептически…

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N.Korea’s pointman on inter-Korean relations executed

20 05 2009

Choe Sung-cheolYonhap, SEOUL (18 May 2009)

North Korea executed its pointman on South Korea last year, holding him responsible for wrong predictions about Seoul’s new conservative government that has ditched a decade of engagement policy toward Pyongyang, sources said Monday.

Choe Sung-chol, who as vice chairman of the North’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee had pushed for bold reconciliation with Seoul’s previous liberal governments, disappeared from public sight early last year amid reports that he was fired.

Rumors spread in January that he was forced to work at a chicken farm, but a number of sources privy to North Korean internal affairs told Yonhap News Agency that Choe was executed last year to shoulder the blame for his judgments on Seoul that proved wrong.

N Korea Purged Officials After Seoul Ties Soured – Analysts

SEOUL (AFP) — Communist North Korea purged key officials who had pushed for reconciliation with South Korea after ties with Seoul worsened sharply last year, observers said Tuesday. But they cast doubt on a media report that one of the officials, Choe Sung Chol, had been executed…

…”North Korea sacked Choe and other figures involved in inter-Korean projects and relations,” said Lee Seung-yong, director of Good Friends, a research group with extensive contacts in the North. He said the purge focused on the United Front Department and the Korea Asia- Pacific Peace Committee, which supervised a Seoul-funded industrial estate at Kaesong, tours to the Mount Kumgang resort and other joint projects.

Choe, who once enjoyed the trust of leader Kim Jong Il and helped arrange the 2007 inter-Korean summit, was vice chief of both bodies but disappeared from public view in spring last year. “North Korea launched a probe into corruption last spring. However it later escalated into a political purge as inter-Korean relations worsened,” Lee said.

“North Korea might have needed scapegoats. Reconciliation which blossomed under liberal governments in Seoul had caused a kind of admiration for South Korea among some party cadres and its people.” Kim Yong-hyun, a North Korea studies professor at Dongguk University, also said Choe and other key figures appeared to have been fired. Military hard- liners now control inter-Korean projects, he added…

…Yonhap news agency said Monday the North executed Choe last year, blaming him for wrongly predicting Seoul’s new policy. “Despite hard-liners’ objections, Choe had strongly pushed for progress in relations with the South (under the previous government),” it quoted a source as saying. “But inter-Korean relations deteriorated after the government change in the South and he was blamed for the ‘misjudgments’ and all other fallout.”

Lee of Good Friends cast doubt on Choe’s reported death sentence, saying there had been no word yet on his execution. Professor Kim said it was “hard to believe” Choe had been executed but he might have been sent to a re-education camp or to the countryside. South Korea’s unification ministry had no comment on the Yonhap report.

Death To Traitors

May 24, 2009: It has been revealed that Choe Sung Chol, who was in charge of North Korean relations with South Korea, was fired and executed last year. The new South Korean government has reversed a policy of giving North Korea lots of goodies with no strings attached. South Korea now wants North Korea to halt developing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. North Korea takes this as a hostile act and an attempt to overthrow the communist police state in North Korea. Choe Sung Chol was apparently held personally responsible for the new South Korean government coming to power, and killed for this failure. Choe Sung Chol may also been caught taking payments from South Korean corporations, and that was what he was officially charged with.





“Смесь ежа и носорога” – Обсуждаем Северную Корею на Серебряном Дожде

16 05 2009

Северная Корея – это всегда интересно! Радиостанция "Серебряный дождь" устроила прямой эфир (16 мая, суббота, 18:00-20:00 МСК), где разговор шёл об этой уникальной стране . 

Одна из ведущих радиостанции (Ксения Собчак :-)) несколько дней назад вернулась из путешествия по Северной Корее. По свидетельству очевидцев, она была более чем потрясена увиденным, о чём и поведала миру. Гостьей эфира стала журналистка Ксения Соколова, побывавшая в КНДР несколько лет назад и написавшая об этом большой очерк. Свои комментарии обещали дать известный дизайнер и «турист-профессионал» Артемий Лебедев, бывший дипломат а ныне музыкант Александр Ф. Скляр, работавший в КНДР в начале 1980-х, и даже кто-то из северокорейских беженецев.

* Музыкальная радиостанция "Серебряный Дождь" вещает из Москвы. Слушать эту радиостанцию можно с сайта с битрейтом 24 kbit/s здесь. Если вы живёте в городе Москва, то для прослушивания Вам достаточно настроить свой радиоприёмник на частоту 100.1 FM. А ещё у этой радиостанции есть свой сайт – http://www.silver.ru/.


Мне передача очень понравилась. Ведущая Ксения Собчак ни разу не воспользовалась своим привычным скандальным имиджем и даже оказалась умницей, назвав Северную Корею "смесью ежа и носорога". Не знаю, додумалась ли она до этого сама или кто-то подсказал, но даже сами северные корейцы любят сравнивать свою маленькую страну с ежом, который никому не угрожает но вседа готов постоять за себя, обнажив колючки. В передаче она не допустила ни одного крупного ляпа, правда не успела вместить в отведённые ей два часа все впечатления от поездки и звуковые фрагменты. В результате, ни одно из запланированных "экспертных" интервью в эфир так и не попало…
 

Read the rest of this entry »





China’s Influence on North Korea is Limited

15 05 2009

Bruce Klingnerby Sunny Lee, Korea Times (14 May 2009)

BEIJING ― The George W. Bush administration was criticized for several years for “sub-contracting”‘ the North Korean nuclear issue out to China. The U.S. turned in large measure to Beijing for the initiative in multinational negotiations, or six-party talks, hoping it would be able to goad North Korea into giving up its nuclear ambitions. But after several years, some observers are beginning to point out that Beijing “didn’t do enough” with its authority as the host of the talks, and failed to exercise its influence as virtually the only lifeline to the North. It has sparked debate on “China’s identity crisis” ― whether it’s unable or unwilling to influence North Korea.

In an exclusive interview with The Korea Times, Bruce Klingner, a former CIA agent on North Korean affairs and now a senior fellow with the Heritage Foundation, said contrary to the prevalent perception, China’s influence over North Korea has proved to be limited by its own choice and called for Beijing to examine its global identity, commensurate with the expectations of the international community. He said Beijing has less influence over Pyongyang than many people think it does, and even though it declared that a nuclear North Korea was against its core national interest, it was unwilling or unable to pressure its neighbor into stopping its nuclear programs.

“China also, despite its best efforts, was unable to prevent North Korea’s missile launch in 2006 and a nuclear test in the same year as well as the most recent missile launch this year,” he added. “After the nuclear test in 2006, China sent a senior-level envoy to North Korea but Kim Jong-il refused to see him. And before the missile test this year, China sent another senior envoy to North Korea, but North Korea went ahead with its missile test.” In his view, China couldn’t even get North Korea to implement Chinese-style economic reforms despite repeated inducement and urgings.

“One can debate whether China is unwilling or unable to pressure North Korea. But in either case, what is clear is that it has not played the beneficial role that the U.S. policy makers have repeatedly and publicly praised Beijing for. “What we need to do now is to more truthfully characterize Beijing’s role. After the U.N. Security Council action in which China vetoed to adopt a resolution, we should now stop describing China as playing a beneficial role as the chairman of the six-party talks. It provided tea and cookies, but beyond that, it didn’t appear to have done too much.”

– Then, how would he characterize China’s role?

“I think we should more accurately and truthfully and publicly characterize China’s actions at the U.N. Security Council as ‘obstructionism,’ contrary to the consensus of the international community, as evidenced in U.N. Resolution 1718, which called for North Korea to abandon its nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. So, China, together with Russia, was obstructing efforts to enforce the U.N. resolutions.

“If Beijing wants to do something, it could certainly do something right now, as some countries are floundering around, trying to find out what to do. Right now, China could step into the bridge, first by not obstructing the efforts to enforce the international law and the U.N. resolutions. But the lack of initiative by Beijing clearly undermines the assertion that China is willing,” he said. “If China has so much influence over North Korea, why is it unable to prevent a minor country across its borders from violating China’s core strategic national interest,” he questioned.

“Most people point to China as having considerable ‘potential’ influence because it could turn off all the spigots of oil deliveries and the all the deliveries of the food to North Korea. That really is an unreasonable option. It’s an extreme option China would never take. We need to find some kind of policy option short of that,” he said…

See the full text of this article here…








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