Saturday, June 8, 2013

NightWatch For the night of 7 June 2013: north Korea, South Korea, China, India, Pakistan, US, Syria, Lebanon


Working level and ministerial level talks are set to take place between north and South Korea.  Mr. McCreary notes the confidence of the regime's "peace offensive" with the Xi-Obama summit and the upcoming Park-Xi summit.

But I think Mr. McCreary's assessment of the Agreed Framework and the Sunshine Policy needs further comment:
Some analysts consider that the Agreed Framework of the Clinton administration and the Sunshine Policy of engagement of President Kim Dae-Jung between 1994 and 2003 were failures in that they did not prevent North Korea's development of ballistic missiles and nuclear devices or weapons or reduce is belligerent attitude. 
That is an accurate judgment, but they did slow them and they had lasting effects on attitudes. There were no nuclear tests; the Yongbyon reactor was frozen; and serious discussions had begun on limiting North Korean missiles under the Missile Technology Control Regime. All nuclear tests and long range ballistic missile launches occurred during the past eleven years of hardline policies, after the earlier initiatives were abandoned.
Perhaps the regime did not conduct nuclear tests during the Agreed Framework because it was not able to – but the Agreed Framework and the Sunshine Policy provided resources not only to prevent regime collapse and to allow survival (Sunshine Policy) but also bought time for it to develop its nuclear capability.  A counter to Mr. McCreary's assessment that the nuclear tests occurred because of the past 11 years of hardline policies (implying that the rests were because of the hardline policies) is that the tests occurred because the regime was ready to conduct them.  For Mr. McCreary's analysis to be correct we would have to believe that the north was willing to give up its nuclear program in return for political and economic concessions when the exact opposite seems to have occurred – the north uses its nuclear program and he threat of its continued development to gain political and economic concessions.  And ironically it will likely continue to do so after these talks because the regime's assessment is that the return to upcoming talks will be a result of the fear of its nuclear program and any political or economic concession the regime receives will be a result of the nuclear program (in the regime's assessment).  The difference between now and the Agreed Framework and the Sunshine Policy periods is that we understand its strategy (and therefore should be able to exploit that knowledge and attack the strategy) and that the ROK/US Alliance is demonstrably stronger and prepared to counter the north's provocation with decisive action.

China makes a positive statement on the upcoming China-South Korea talks and Mr. McCreary assesses it is "cleaning up its neighborhood." (He attributes the north's actions to China being in control of its neighborhood).

Unclear incident at the Pakistan-India line of control.  Note Mr. McCreary's special comment a challenge to Prime Minister Sharif.

Another drone strike in Pakistan killed seven.

Syrian and Hezbollah forces "press the fight."

Lebanese Army warns of a plot to bring Lebanon into the Syrian conflict.
V/R
Dave



NightWatch
For the night of 7 June 2013

North Korea-South Korea: The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)published North Korea's counter-proposal to the South Korean proposal to hold talks in Seoul on 12 June.

"The spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) gave the following answer to a question raised by KCNA on Friday, 7 June, as regards the positive response of the South Korean authorities to the proposal made by the DPRK on holding talks between the authorities of the north and the south in its special statement: As already reported, we issued a special statement on Thursday, 6 June, clarifying its crucial stand with the aim of providing a fresh and decisive phase in the north-south relations. "

"We appreciate the fact that the south side promptly and positively responded to the proposal made by us for holding talks between the authorities of both sides."

"It is our view that working contact between the authorities of the north and the south is necessary prior to ministerial-level talks proposed by the south side in the light of the prevailing situation in which the bilateral relations have been stalemated for years and mistrust has reached the extremity."

"So, we propose holding working contact between the authorities of the north and the south in Kaesong on 9 June. To this end, we will reopen the Panmunjom Red Cross liaison channel from 14:00 on 7 June and, through this, hope the south side sends a reply to our above-mentioned proposal."

South Korea counter-proposed to hold the talks at Panmunjom. North Korea communicated its agreement via the Red Cross liaison channel.

The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the two sides have agreed to meet at the Cabinet level in Seoul on Wednesday.

Comment: The 9 June talks will be the first working level talks since 2011. The ministerial-level talks will be the first at that level since 2007.

The North Korean agency in this new initiative is worth noting. Most of the terminations of contacts in March and April were announced from military channels. The Foreign Ministry weighed in on one cancellation. The message was clear that it was an all-of-government action.

The restoration is being accomplished in civilian channels by a single government agent, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea. The channel of the North's engagement does not convey fundamental or permanent change of policy. This is the same old North Korean policy game.

Nevertheless, it is prudent for South Korea to take advantage of this opening. Looking back on what worked and what failed in the Kim Chong-il era, it seems that it is more useful to go beyond talking and engage in more joint projects. The aim would be not just to shore up regional stability, but also to expose North Koreans to modern ideas and technology and to make profits.

Some analysts consider that the Agreed Framework of the Clinton administration and the Sunshine Policy of engagement of President Kim Dae-Jung between 1994 and 2003 were failures in that they did not prevent North Korea's development of ballistic missiles and nuclear devices or weapons or reduce is belligerent attitude.

That is an accurate judgment, but they did slow them and they had lasting effects on attitudes. There were no nuclear tests; the Yongbyon reactor was frozen; and serious discussions had begun on limiting North Korean missiles under the Missile Technology Control Regime. All nuclear tests and long range ballistic missile launches occurred during the past eleven years of hardline policies, after the earlier initiatives were abandoned.

That history shows that North Korea responds to modern economic and technological projects that benefit it in tangible ways even though they work against the state ideology.

Finally, it seems more than coincidental that North Korea's peace offenses was timed to occur right before President Xi's trip the California this week. The message is that China is in control of its neighborhood.

China-South Korea: Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei hosted a regular news conference on 7 June 2013. He led off with an announcement:


"At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Republic of Korea (ROK) President Park Geun-hye will pay a state visit to China from 27 to 30 June to hold talks and meet with Chinese leaders. The two sides will exchange views on bilateral relations as well as major international and regional issues of mutual concern."
(Continued at this link below)

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