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…

Read the rest of this entry »





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…





DJ Seeks to Revive Sunshine Policy

11 05 2009

Kim DJBy Sunny Lee, The Korea Times (05-08-2009)

BEIJING ― Former President Kim Dae-jung, the architect of the Sunshine Policy of promoting engagement with North Korea, will meet with the Obama administration’s front man on North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, in Seoul Saturday. “(The U.S. special envoy) Bosworth will visit my house in Seoul tomorrow,” Kim said in Beijing on Friday, without elaborating.

Expectations have been revived on the derailed multinational negotiation to dissuade North Korea’s nuclear ambition, as Beijing the two prominent figures who support the policy of engaging North Korea this week. Bosworth arrived in Beijing Thursday, while the former South Korean President had been visiting China for five days until Friday.

In China, Kim met with a group of Chinese experts on North Korea on Thursday at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as well as Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is widely believed to become the next president when the incumbent Hu Jintao steps down in 2012.

It’s not clear how the personal visit by the U.S. envoy to the architect of the Sunshine policy would help move forward the stalled nuclear talks.

The negative sentiment is [...] directed at the efficiency of the current multinational negotiation framework, where six countries, including the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan, the U.S., have been involved.

“I have never been a great supporter of the six-party talks. There are too many participants in the talks and every party has its own agenda. The members of the talks traditionally have conflicting and competing security and ideological blocs among themselves. So, it’s not easy to reconcile the interest of each party,” Leonid Petrov, a Russian expert on Korean affairs, told The Korea Times, proposing instead a bilateral track between North Korea and the U.S. as a viable alternative.

Another long-persistent doubt is whether North Korea is really ready to give up its nuclear weapons. This suspicion is even shared by some scholars of the host country of the nuclear talks as well. “Developing nuclear weapons is a fixed national policy of North Korea,” said Zhang Liangui, a prominent Chinese security expert at the elite Chinese Communist Party School, in an article Thursday on The International Herald Leader, noting that the claim that North Korea’s nuclear drive is largely motivated by its perceived security threat from the U.S. is exaggerated…

See the full text of this article here…

Kyodo News reported that the US assured Japan that it has no plans to hold bilateral talks with the DPRK outside a framework of the six-nation process on denuclearizing Pyongyang, senior Japanese officials said. Stephen Bosworth, the US special representative for DPRK policy who is traveling around Asia for consultations on the DPRK issue, referred to the plan during separate meetings in Tokyo with Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka and Akitaka Saiki, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau. (“U.S. NOT EYEING TALKS WITH N. KOREA OUTSIDE 6-PARTY FRAMEWORK “, Tokyo , 2009/05/11)





О мудрости политики игнорирования КНДР и бессмысленности шестисторонних переговоров

9 05 2009

На днях появились две интересные статьи на одну и ту же тему — ракетно-ядерные эксперементы КНДР, будущее шестисторонних переговоров, и что нужно делать в этой ситуации странам-участницам. Авторы — известные и именитые люди. Г.Д.Толорая и Kwak Tae-Hwan.

Интересно, что оба специалиста одинаково оценивают ситуацию, и правильно вскрывают причины её возникновения, но также настойчиво призывают к продолжению шестисторонних переговоров. Однако, Г.Д.Толорая, который по всей видимости, осведомлён о предстоящих планах правительств больше, не так сильно настаивает на возвращении Северной Кореи, называя новый возможный формат шестисторонки (5+1). Оба аналитика дают свои рекомендации всем шести правительсвам относительно того как им следует себя вести, чтобы сдвинуть дело с мёртвой точки.   

Остаётся только удивляться настойчивости и упорству политиков и их консультантов, которые считают шестисторонний формат действенным (а кое кто и единственным) средством для решения корейской ядерной проблемы. Такую сложную и запутанную проблему, которая является прямым следствием Холодной войны, невозможно решить скопом усадив за стол переговоров представителей некогда враждебных блоков (между многими из которых войны до сих пор не закончены: Россия-Япония, США-КНДР, КНДР-РК). Кстати, у Г.Д.Толорая в самом конце статьи всё-таки прозвучала идея о том, что для создания новой региональной архитектуры, для начала, требуются двусторонние переговоры и соглашения.  

Рекомендации же данные обоими авторами Вашингтону пересмотреть свою политику и признать Северную Корею как ядерное государство оставляют странное впечатление. Новая администрация Белого дома прекрасно понимает, что сядет в лужу если начнёт "дружить" с Пхеньяном. Ведь тогда развалится вся внешнеполитическая и военная доктрина США. Этого не поймут ни в Конгрессе ни на улицах. Первый недоумённый вопрос будет такой, "а зачем, собственно, воевали в 1950-1953 гг.?" Затем возникнет ещё множество вопросов, типа — "а что делают наши войска в Южной Корее и Японии?" Да и многомиллиардные расходы на вооружения, разведку и дипломатию также окажутся ненужными.

Поэтому новая администрация Белого дома и идёт на сознательный риск, обостряя отношения с КНДР и при этом сглаживая острые углы в своих отношениях с Южной Кореей, Японией и другими сателитами. В конце концов, раздражая весь окружающий мир (включая Китай и Россию) своими выходками и угрозами, Пхеньян роет сам себе яму, из которой ему потом будет трудно выбираться. Так зачем, спрашивается, Госдепартаменту напрягаться, куда-то ездить, кого-то уговаривать, чтобы потом на следующих выборах демократов погнали в шею из-за того "что они слишком мягки по отношению к диктаторам"? 

Обама и Клинтон решили игнорировать КНДР столько, сколько будет возможно. Игнорировать бесконечно они, конечно, не смогут. Через неделю после взрыва очередной ядерной бомбы или показательной продажи ракетных технологий Сирии спец.представитель США по северокорейским проблемам Босворт помчится на переговоры в Пхеньян или туда, куда ему укажут. Вот тут-то и начнутся  уговоры и обещания, к которым ни один республиканец не придерётся, да и общественное мнение будет на стороне демократов. 
 
А пока северокорейские "стратеги" раздают обещания сжечь, закидать и раздавить своих соседей по региону, США продолжают помогать КНДР (хотя и на 100 миллионов менее активно чем прежде). Спрашивается, почему из всех врагов Северной Кореи больше всего гуманитарной помощи ей оказали именно Сединённые Штаты (если не считать сталинских 2 миллионов инвалютных рублей выделенных в 1949 г.)? Помогают потому что Вашингтону очень удобно иметь в этом регионе полуживое пугало, на борьбу с которым можно систематически списывать более весомые расходы. 

КНДР — очень удобный враг. Он хулиганит и угрожает соседям. Запускает и взрывает, то что его просят не запускать и не взрывать. Понятно, что опасности от этих запусков и взрывов (по крайней мере для США) почти никакой, но на лицо явное неуважение к мнению международного сообщества, в том числе и потенциальных доброжелателей (КНР и России). При этом никто, реально, ничего поделать с Пхеньяном уже не может. А раз ничего сделать нельзя, то лучше ничего и не делать. В этом заключается великая мудрость политики игнорирования КНДР.

У КНДР есть полное право заниматься чем угодно до тех пор пока это не угрожает безопасности других стран. Своих собственных забот у Пхеньяна множество. Пусть выращивают рис и квасят кимчхи – никто к ним не будет иметь претензий за это. А если нужна защита, то желающих "помочь" в этом регионе хоть отбавляй. Проблема в том, что такой сценарий не устраивает сам северокорейский режим. Ведь клике Кимов также нужно внешнее пугало, как и семейству Бушей или Клинтонов. Так что пусть сами разбираются и шестисторонние переговоры тут ни при чём. 

Статьи Г.Д.Толорая "The New Korean Cold War " и Kwak Tae-Hwan "THE FUTURE DIRECTION OF THE NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR ISSUE". можно прочитать по ссылкам.
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Survival Tactic

1 05 2009

By Mel Gurtov, Time Magazine, (30 Apr.  2009)

kji_groupNorth Korea’s rocket launch of April 5, the U.N. Security Council vote to condemn the launch and strengthen sanctions, and the North’s decision of April 14 to pull out of the six-party talks have thrown a monkey wrench into prospects for a negotiated resolution of Pyongyang’s nuclear-weapon and missile programs. On the surface it appears that North Korea is again embarked on a threatening course; it has vowed to continue work on its contested weapons programs. But on closer examination, the North’s weapons tests always occur at times of insecurity. Its tough posturing belies the tenuous internal and external circumstances in which it operates.

Far from seeking to create an international crisis, North Korea is acting defensively. This is a regime that above all else seeks to remain in power, to preserve its juche ideology of militant nationalism and self-determination, and to run its economy without following China’s advice about “reform and opening.” But the regime presides over a desperately poor country with few resources, very little international trade, an ever-widening gap between itself and South Korea, a calamitous public-health situation and a military that gobbles up the greater part of the budget. On top of all that, North Korea no longer can count on its Chinese and Russian partners for security, and not always for food and fuel.

To interpret the latest North Korean actions as provocations, pure and simple, badly misreads the message and the precarious position of its sender. An insecure regime with an economy that may easily descend again into widespread famine, and a leader, Kim Jong Il, who appears very ill, to judge from recent photos, is not bargaining from strength. Self-preservation is the name of its game. The leading decision-making body that Kim heads, the National Defense Commission, is filled with generals who most assuredly want to demonstrate that the regime still has muscle. These are people who know that war means their demise, whereas a bargain with the U.S., while it would require stopping nuclear-weapon and missile production, would give the regime legitimacy. It might also spare them from having to give up the six to 10 plutonium bombs they evidently have…

…The six-party talks, which began in 2003, have resulted in several improvements in the security situation on the Korean peninsula. The North has stopped plutonium production and completed several promised steps to disable the Yongbyon nuclear facility. (Though North Korea now says it is restarting that facility, U.S. experts who have visited the site say it will take considerable time and expense to do so.) South Korea has become an important trade and investment partner of the North. Some nongovernmental organizations, such as Mercy Corps, have had regular access to North Korea because they have delivered on meaningful development projects. If talks resume, they will surely be invited back. And China has moved from being a passive to an active player in the talks.

Some critics will say that a dictatorial regime such as North Korea, with all its human-rights abuses, does not deserve added security. But as former U.S. defense secretary William Perry said in 1999, on returning from Pyongyang: “We have to deal with the North Korean government not as we wish they would be, but as in fact they are.” Although the U.S. does not consider itself a threat to the North, Perry continued, Pyongyang believes the opposite. The North’s need of a deterrent, Perry said, has “a very clear logic.” The prescription seems plain: keep engaging the North while defanging it. If the other parties persist in engagement, North Korea will return to the negotiating table. It needs the six-party talks as much as anyone.

Mel Gurtov is professor emeritus of political science at Portland State University, editor in chief of Asian Perspective and the author of numerous books on Asia and U.S. policy

See the full text here…








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