Analysis from the former UK ambassador to north Korea.
Almost all analysis revolves around Kim consolidating power or that there could be further instability.
What I do not read about is whether there are any opportunities being created here or the fact that if there is further instability and the potential for regime collapse what are we doing now to prepare for the contingency to include preparations that might mitigate the effects of regime collapse. Are opportunities being presented to be able to influence what might come after Kim Jong-un (I deliberately use what vice who)? Should the ROK government or the ROK/US Alliance be executing a comprehensive influence campaign now? Should the Alliance be assessing whether there is growing resistance potential inside north Korea and determine how it could be exploited to achieve Alliance objectives? But in every crisis there are opportunities that can be exploited and we should be observing for them. Just as an aside here is the abstract from my 2004 research project at the National War College. Note the last paragraph (recall also that in 2004 the ROK/US Alliance was not in very good shape). As an aside I have waited a long time for such events as are taking place in north Korea. But can they be exploited?
ABSTRACTThis paper has as its thesis five propositions that will be discussed in detail:
- US and ROK policies are in turmoil are not coherent, and not synchronized. There is no long term approach to the “Korea Question.”
- The ROK-US alliance is eroding rapidly due to actions by both governments and their respective populations.
- North Korea will continue to execute its strategy to protect its vital national interest: Survival of the Kim Family Regime (KFR) and any strategy devised must take this into account.
- To achieve a lasting peace on the peninsula, a combined ROK-US strategy that seeks to achieve a mutually agreed upon and acceptable end state must be developed and executed in an orchestrated and cooperative approach.
- Divergent ROK and US policies must be made compatible (e.g., Kim Dae Jung’s Sunshine policy - and now the Roh Moo Hyun administration’s Peace and Prosperity policy - versus those in the US who want to focus on Regime Change). Instead of causing regime change externally the ROK and US strategy must be to prepare for a post Kim Family Regime era that arises from internal regime change while at the same time managing the crises as they occur, identifying and exploiting opportunities as they arise, and preparing for the potential conflict that a post-KFR peninsula may trigger.This paper proposes a long term ROK-US combined security strategy to work toward resolution of the “Korea question”: Comprehensive Engagement with Strength: Partner and Prosper. It establishes a long term end state toward which all efforts will focus. It provides a framework that allows management of the current and future crises while simultaneously allowing the ROK and US to identify opportunities stemming from current and future emerging crises that will support achievement of the long term end state.Key Points:· Ensure that an effective defensive capability remains in place until the “Korea Question” is resolved· Method for developing a combined strategy(1) Consultations at the political and military level between the ROKG and USG.(2) Increased high level contacts.(3) Establishment of a combined planning group (Korea Strategy Group (KSG)) with permanent NSC level members that meet on a rotating basis in Washington and Seoul.
- Repair the alliance: This will take a concerted effort by the President and senior US leadership. Must come to agreement on the divergent ROK and US policies (sunshine policy versus regime change). They are not mutually exclusive if you do not use the Iraq/Afghanistan models for regime change.
- Proposed mutually acceptable strategic end state: A stable, secure, peaceful, economically vibrant, non-nuclear peninsula, reunified under a liberal constitutional form of government determined by the Korean people.This end state implies regime change. But it must come from within. Most importantly while the US desires regime change it has not prepared for it. Fundamental to the strategy is that near term crises must be managed (and exploited for possible opportunities) while it prepares the foundation for a post Kim Family Regime era.
Analysis: Kim Jong-un’s agenda brutally clear after execution of his uncle
wp/blog.html?b=fullcomment. nationalpost.com/2013/12/14/ analysis-kim-jong-uns-agenda- brutally-clear-after- execution-of-his-uncle
John Everard, The Daily Telegraph, National Post Wire Services
Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013
Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013
This photo released by Yonhap on Dec. 13, 2013 shows Jang Song-thaek being escorted in court on Dec. 12, 2013. North Korea has executed the uncle of its leader Kim Jong-un after a shock purge, state news agency KCNA announced. Yonhap/AFP/Getty Images
LONDON — Never before has North Korea purged someone so publicly as it has just eliminated Kim Jong-un’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek.
In the past, purges were usually conducted in secret. But this time not only has the detailed political indictment against Jang been published, but his actual eviction from a party meeting was broadcast on North Korean television.
Then, yesterday, came the announcement from state television that he had been executed for treason, branded “despicable human scum”.
In making this very public display of ruthlessness, Kim probably had three objectives.
First, nobody in North Korea can doubt now that he, and he alone, is in charge. Nor can anybody doubt that he is utterly ruthless in removing anybody who might, in the colourful language of the indictment, “dream different dreams”.
- Uncle’s execution in Kim Jong-un’s ‘empire of horror’ stokes fear of further purges
- North Korea confirms purge of Kim Jong-un’s influential uncle and mentor for alleged gambling and ‘anti-state’ acts
- Purged Kim Jong-un uncle cut out of propaganda film rerun
- North Korean firing squads reportedly execute 80 for watching foreign films
If even the immensely powerful Jang can be brought so low and dispatched so swiftly, then nobody is safe.
Second, Kim has told his country – and the world – that not only Jang the man, but also the vision that he stood for, has been purged.
Jang seems to have argued for a less closed North Korea, one that embraced trade and sought inward investment. He was in charge of several (perhaps all) of its planned special economic zones (an experiment copied from the early days of China’s transformation) and was seen as a strong supporter of economic reform.
The indictment of which he was immediately found guilty accused Jang of “selling off precious resources of the country at cheap prices” and opposing the “development of the industries of Juche iron, Juche fertiliser and Juche vinalon”. This is Pyongyang-speak for the development of indigenous industries (vinalon is a uniquely North Korean – and uniquely uncomfortable – artificial fibre).
So Jang probably argued that North Korea should trade its abundant natural resources to secure the basic materials that it needs rather than try (inefficiently) to manufacture them itself. This heresy will have infuriated the ideologues and, apparently, Kim too. Jang’s purge probably signals a reverse perestroika – that North Korea is abandoning its timid attempts at structural economic reform.
Third, this is a slap in the face for China. Beijing is often described as North Korea’s only ally, but with every nuclear test and every provocative missile launch, the relationship has become more strained. After North Korea’s third nuclear test in February, China recalibrated its policy. It stopped giving Pyongyang cash aid. It changed the lead department on policy towards its awkward neighbour from the Communist Party, which has been generally kind, to the much sterner ministry of foreign affairs. It made public a long list of items whose delivery to North Korea its customs officials were instructed to prevent.
And – a particular sting – it banned top-level contacts. This has meant that Kim has been unable to visit Beijing, a big snub in Asian diplomacy. To rub salt in the wound, President Xi Jinping of China hosted a very successful state visit in June by Kim’s arch-rival, President Park Geun-hye of South Korea, and said last week that he hoped to visit South Korea himself.
Xi has neither visited Pyongyang nor shown any interest in doing so. All this will have alarmed and angered the regime, and Jang’s indictment and dismissal is probably, among other things, Kim’s answer to China. The sale of “precious resources” mentioned above was to China, so North Korea has come close to declaring much of its trade with that country illegitimate.
KNS/AFP/Getty Images; Jason Lee - Pool/Getty ImagesRelations have been strained between North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and China's President Xi Jinping.
Beijing regarded Jang as its main friend at the court of Kim. Its stunned silence at the news of his removal, followed by a terse statement that this was North Korea’s internal affair, speaks volumes.
(Continued at the link below)