During nuclear negotiations in 2005, a North Korean diplomat let slip an unexpectedly candid comment, offering valuable insight into his government’s nuclear policy: “The reason you attacked Afghanistan is because they don’t have nukes. And look at what happened to Libya. That is why we will never give up ours.”
North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test on Wednesday, claiming that it had detonated a hydrogen bomb. The United States government disputes that, but one thing is clear: North Korea’s leaders still believe that nuclear weapons will prevent others from attacking them no matter what they do. This is fanciful. What the world needs is reality.… Seguir leyendo »
China’s not-so-blue skies were the primary topic of conversation during Vice President Biden’s recent trip to East Asia. The issue, of course, was not climate change but Beijing’s declaration last month of a new air defense identification zone that requires aircraft flying through the area to identify themselves and to file a flight plan . Although the declaration of such zones is the sovereign right of states, the international norm is that countries do not unilaterally declare zones that overlap with other countries’ airspace and with disputed territory.
In this case, China did both. Half of its new zone duplicates Japan’s over the disputed territory of a Japanese-owned island chain (which the Japanese call Senkakus and the Chinese call Diaoyu).… Seguir leyendo »
Last month Japanese officials once again visited the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which many Asians deplore as a symbol of Japan’s militaristic past. Soon afterward, South Korea celebrated a law passed in 1900 that claimed sovereignty over the Liancourt Rocks, a disputed outcropping in the waters between the countries.
Animosity between Japan and Korea is nothing new. But these latest events have taken relations to a new low and threaten American interests just as President Obama has embarked on a new effort to improve Washington’s position in the region.
Korean-Japanese tensions date from Japan’s invasion of the Korean Peninsula in the late 16th century.… Seguir leyendo »
Over the past month, North Korea's 29-year-old leader, Kim Jong Un, has threatened to attack Washington with nuclear weapons, declared a state of war with neighboring South Korea and warned diplomats to evacuate the peninsula.
The Obama administration has sent conflicting responses: first deploying bombers and new missile defense assets to the region, then appearing to back off and calling for dialogue with Pyongyang. This is a pattern the North has come to expect of all U.S. administrations.
Historically, after major provocations, the United States has returned to the bargaining table with North Korea within, on average, five monthsof a provocation.… Seguir leyendo »
North Korea as we know it is over. Whether it comes apart in the next few weeks or over several months, the regime will not be able to hold together after the untimely death of its leader, Kim Jong-il. How America responds — and, perhaps even more important, how America responds to how China responds — will determine whether the region moves toward greater stability or falls into conflict.
Mr. Kim’s death could not have come at a worse time for North Korea. Economically broken, starving and politically isolated, this dark kingdom was in the midst of preparations to hand power over to his not-yet-30-year-old son, the untested Kim Jong-un.… Seguir leyendo »
North Korea’s nuclear test and military provocations in 2009 and 2010 created a situation far too dangerous to leave unattended. When President Obama hosts South Korean President Lee Myung-bak this week, they are likely to discuss a second round of U.S.-North Korea talks this month, effectively opening the first negotiation of Obama’s presidency to contain North Korean belligerence.
The goal of this diplomacy remains the peaceful denuclearization of North Korea. But the administration needs to make clear the costs that will come with a failed negotiation. For too long, the North Koreans have been told to “denuclearize or else,” yet the regime has defied agreements with little consequence.… Seguir leyendo »
The massive Communist Party rallies in North Korea this month provided the world's first real glimpse of that mysterious country's next leader. Kim Jong Eun, youngest son of "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il, seen in pictures for the first time, was almost certainly named the successor to his ailing father through his recent promotions to the rank of four-star army general and second-in-command of the party. He is under 30 years of age.
In a country of hyper-isolation and xenophobia, the "young general" reportedly has a cosmopolitan upbringing. Believed to have been educated in Switzerland, he speaks some German and some English.… Seguir leyendo »
The Post asked foreign policy experts if Obama's trip was a success or an embarrassment. Below are contributions from Michael Auslin, Michael Green, Victor Cha, Danielle Pletka, Douglas E. Schoen, Richard C. Bush, Elizabeth C. Economy, David Shambaugh and Yang Jianli.
The optics of the president's trip fulfilled his stated intention of announcing that the United States was "back" in Asia, but the lack of tangible policy results suggest it was a success of style over substance.
Meeting with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and a statement that the United States will "engage" with the free-trade Trans Pacific Partnership does not substitute for a full trade policy.… Seguir leyendo »