Famously, Donald Rumsfeld once said there are “known knowns, and then there are known unknowns”. With the current North Korea situation, this expression seems apt. There are things that we appear to know, for example the actual planned events, the negotiations which are moving dramatically forward, going from vague promises to actual dates. There are even known knowns about negotiating positions – so we know that the US does not wish to remove its troops from the Peninsula without a dramatic reduction in the threat to its ally the ROK.
Tough talk and the wrong priorities. That or something like that is what Japan under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe can contribute to the outcome of the upcoming inter-Korean summit. Indeed, limiting himself to repeating U.S.
Chinese president Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un met in Beijing early this week, in what can be defined a historic meeting. The two heads of state never met. And Kim Jong-un has not visited a foreign country since 2011, year in which he came to power, following his father’s (Kim Jong-il) death.
The North Korean nuclear problem has been one of the most critical modern-day international security issues: the risk of a nuclear war is high and real. Historically, Moscow has played an important role in mediation efforts on the issue, yet some of the contemporary drivers of the Russian position, in part, have to do with realities that emerged over recent years.
After Pyongyang has conducted its sixth nuclear test and North Korean missiles continue to fly over Japanese territory and territorial waters, tensions over North Korea have reached a fever pitch. Analysts and commentators fear that the exchange of hostile rhetoric between Kim Jong–un and US President Donald Trump may soon get out of control. Just days after Trump threatened in his UN General Assembly speech that the United States might “totally destroy” North Korea, on September 23 Pyongyang’s Foreign Minister replied in kind.
As the latest and worst North Korea crisis in six decades continues to rage, the need to think outside the box grows more urgent. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the global community appear trapped in a vicious circle, like a malign chicken and egg. After 11 years and eight major UN resolutions, this cycle is wearily familiar. North Korea tests a ballistic missile (BM) or a nuclear device.
China’s relations with North Korea are complex with a variety of bad choices and suboptimal solutions. It could be argued that the actor that has lost most in the recent tensions is China. It has often been argued that China should do more, above all by U.S. President Trump. However, what are the options and restraints China faces in its relations with North Korea? This short article does not mean to engage in the debate on whether China or the U.S.
Understanding the current iteration of the two-decade long North Korean crisis is not easy. It is, for what of a better word, complicated. Furthermore, the fact is that it has finally imploded while Donald Trump is President. “Of all the presidents in all the world, why did you have to start a North Korean crisis with him...?” This is not an administration that lends itself to level analysis. And nor is the topic, for that matter.
Japan under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe does not have what a country geographically so close to and easily within range of North Korean short and medium-range missiles should have: a plan, let alone a North Korea strategy, that goes beyond announcing that Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear tests are an “unacceptable provocation”.
Among all those who try to evaluate South Korea’s position in the midst of the latest sharp rise in tensions on the Korean peninsula, the best, yet striking, definition has so far been provided by someone very close to the administration, in the person of Moon Chung-in, special advisor for unification, diplomacy and national security to President Moon Jae-in.
The presentation analysed the current state of North Korea’s nuclear programme assessing whether and to what extent it poses a credible and immediate threat to security on the Korean Peninsula and beyond. Under the current circumstances, is a peaceful re–unification of the Korean Peninsula still an option and possibility in years ahead?
The discussion was held in English.
The event was organised in partnership with the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Milan.
Get ready folks for a new premiere of slapstick comedy between Korea and China featuring a new actor, Moon Jae-in, elected South Korea’s president on May 9. A Korean president’s slapstick comedy show is a never-ending story. We already watched a couple of episodes featuring former president Park Geun-hye. One was her attendance at China’s military parade in 2015, triggering questions about her diplomatic stance between Washington and Beijing.