What’s driving North Korea’s actions toward the South?

4 08 2020

By Deutsche Welle (2020/07/14) Leonid Petrov, a former chair of Korean Studies at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, says the North’s destruction of the liaison office is intended as a sign that “Pyongyang does not need Seoul any more in the context of this new Cold War.”

Whereas North Korea was frantically trying to build bridges with Seoul and the United States just three years ago, as international sanctions bit hard into its economy, President Trump has since fallen out spectacularly with China and Russia. That has given Pyongyang the opportunity to rebuild its own ties with Beijing and Moscow; both now see North Korea as a useful geo-political bargaining chip and are likely to continue their support for Kim’s regime.

“By blowing up the liaison office, the North is saying that there is no need to communicate with the South anymore. I suspect they may soon start testing weapons again, and even possibly nuclear warheads,” he added. “This new Cold War is actually very good news for Kim because his regime can now thrive.”

South Korea convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council on Tuesday afternoon and troops were ordered to step up surveillance of the North and be prepared for further provocations in the tense border area. The Pentagon had previously stated that it was keeping a “robust” defensive posture on the peninsula and that US forces were ready to respond to any situation that might evolve.

Given that the North has now followed through on its threats to destroy the liaison office, its next move may very well be to send troops back into areas on the border that were demilitarized under the 2018 military agreement. It is possible that troops will return to Kaesong and the Mount Kumgang tourist zone, on the fareast coast, where military installations on both sides were destroyed two years ago.

The South Korean government has reiterated that it intends to stand by the terms of the agreement and has called on Pyongyang to do the same.





Two Koreas to continue high-level talks on Friday

14 02 2014

Panmunjom(NKnews.org 13 February 2014) North and South Korea will return to high-level talks on Friday to continue discussions on the subject of inter-Korean family reunions and looming U.S. and South Korean joint military drills.

Friday’s meeting follows lengthy inter-Korean negotiations held at Pyongyang’s request on Wednesday that failed to result in any tangible agreement between the two sides.

At Wednesday’s talks North Korea communicated to South Korea that forthcoming Foal Eagle and Key Resolve military drills should be cancelled or postponed, so at they do not overlap planned family reunions between February 20 to 25.

But on Thursday South Korea rejected the request, with South Korea’s Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae telling parliament: “As far as we’re concerned, it’s impossible.”

While Reuters reported that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that North Korea should not link forthcoming military drills with the issue of family reunions, one North Korea expert Leonid Petrov told NK News he was not optimistic about progress at Friday’s talks.

“If the South Koreans wanted to reopen Geumgangsan Mt. Resort they would have done so long time ago. The North Koreans know that and deliberately insist that family reunions should take place there. The timing for proposed family reunions is also ominous, given the joint ROK-US military drills in the area are scheduled precisely on the same day.”

Kerry also said on Thursday that the military exercises with South Korea later this month will be the same as those conducted in previous years.