The talks that opened this week between the North and South Korean governments are off to an inauspicious start: Even before negotiators could settle into their seats, the North had pocketed its first concession from the South, offering nothing in return.
North Korean negotiators are practiced hands in the art of “we win and you lose” deal-making. Unless the team of President Moon Jae-in of South Korea has the fortitude to stand up to such ploys and has a solid game plan of its own, there is a serious risk that the South, its allies and much of the international community will come out of these apparent peace overtures even less secure than before.… Seguir leyendo »
The career of Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s “Dear Leader,” was marked by a series of historical firsts — most of them dubious at best. He was, to begin, the first ruler of a Marxist-Leninist state to inherit absolute power through hereditary succession from his father, “Great Leader” Kim Il Sung, founder of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK.
He was also the first ruler of an urbanized, literate society to preside over a mass famine in peacetime: The Great North Korean Famine of the 1990s, which erupted shortly after his father’s death, is believed to have killed hundreds of thousands of his subjects, and perhaps more.… Seguir leyendo »
Two years into the Obama administration — after detonating a nuclear weapon, test-firing long-range ballistic missiles, killing dozens of South Korean sailors in an unprovoked torpedo strike, unveiling a long-denied uranium enrichment facility, and murdering South Korean civilians in a daylight artillery attack that was broadcast globally — Pyongyang has decided to return to the negotiation tables.
With China’s backing, North Korea is vigorously campaigning to draw the United States into another round of “six-party talks,” the multilateral deliberations on North Korean “denuclearization” first convened in 2003.
American officials appear increasingly receptive; this weekend, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to visit South Korea, purportedly to test the waters with this key U.S.… Seguir leyendo »