Current Issues : North Korea : A Chameleon or A Change Agent

Recently North Korea has made a series of rare, compromising motions which might have pacified the regional tension to some extent. This article deals with the chronicle of quick shifts in North Korea’s diplomatic and nuclear dealings.
North Korea : Geographical facts:
  1. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Capital : Pyongyang) occupies the northern half of the Korean Peninsula.
  2. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer area between North Korea and South Korea.
  3. The Amnok River and the Tumen River make the border between North Korea and China.
  4. A section of the Tumen River in the extreme north-east is the border with Russia.

Time Line:

  1. Korea was a peninsula ruled by 7 governments and maintained political and cultural independence until the 13th century.
  2. Mongol invasions of the Goryeo Dynasty in the 13th century and Japanese invasions of the Joseon Dynasty in the 16th century were remarkable turning points in the history of Korea.
  3. During the latter part of the Joseon Dynasty, Korea’s isolationist policy earned it the Western nickname the “Hermit Kingdom“.
  4. The Greater Korean Empire was an empire of Korea that succeeded the Joseon Dynasty that had ruled the nation for 500 years.
  5. By the late 19th century, the country became the object of the colonial designs of Japan and Europe.
  6. In 1910, Korea was forcibly annexed by Japan and remained occupied until the end of World War II in August 1945.
  7. In 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed on the surrender and disarming of Japanese troops in Korea.
  8. A minor decision that the Soviet Union accepting the surrender of Japanese weaponry north of the 38th parallel and the United States taking the surrender south of it became the basis for the division of Korea by the two superpowers.
  9. Thus he two Cold War rivals then established governments sympathetic to their own ideologies, leading to Korea’s current division into two political entities: North Korea and South Korea.
  10. North Korea refused to participate in a United Nations–supervised election held in the south in 1948, which led to the creation of separate Korean governments for the two occupation zones.
  11. Both North and South Korea claimed sovereignty over the peninsula as a whole, which led to the Korean War of 1950.
  12. A 1953 armistice ended the fighting; however, the two countries are officially still at war with each other, as a peace treaty was never signed. On May 26, 2009, North Korea unilaterally withdrew from the armistice.

Latest Trends in North Korea’s Diplomacy:

  1. Both states were accepted into the United Nations in 1991
  2. North and South Korea struck a landmark accord in December 1991 where they pledged for the first time to recognize each other and not have military confrontation.
  3. This became the agreement that served as the basis for future cooperation and nuclear negotiations, however just after two months North Korea naval vessels sank two South Korean fishing boats and detained about 30 sailors.
  4. The first summit of the leaders of the two Korea was held in 2000. There was a meeting between South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il at Pyongyang which was meant to increased cooperation between the two countries.
  5. However this euphoria didn’t last long as the very next month North Korea threatened to blow up a leading South Korean daily for slandering its leaders.
  6. In August 2003 six-way nuclear talks began among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States. Thease talks raised the hopes of a diplomatic solution to the North Korea’s atomic ambitions. However North Korea maculated the climate of the environment by threatening to test a nuclear Bomb.
  7. In September 2005, the 6 countries reached a turning point when North Korea said that it would scrap its nuclear arms programme in exchange for massive aid and an end to its international ostracism.
  8. However the very next day, North Korea said it would only abide by agreement if the United States gave it light-water nuclear reactors first. United States refused.
  9. In June 2008, North Korea made the most symbolic showing of its committal to the 6 party deal when it blew up the cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear reactor.
  10. The very next month, North Korea threatened to scamper the deal unless the United States removed it from a terrorism blacklist.
  11. The deal eventually crumbled after this as North Korea expressed its anger about the pace of aid delivery which it dubbed as hostile U.S. policies and provisions that would allow foreign inspectors to remove nuclear samples from its territory.
  12. On September 9,2009, United states moved on to freeze the assets of two North Korean entities, which US believed to be involved in atomic and missile programmes. Perhaps this move is to raise pressure on North Korea to resume disarmament talks.
  13. In August 2009, North Korea Pyongyang has been sending out conflicting messages. In August, it made a series of conciliatory gestures, followed this month by more nuclear threats and then straining ties with Seoul by releasing water from a dam on a river flowing across the border, triggering a flash flood that killed six South Koreans.

What North Korea wants?

  1. North Korea wants an end to U.N. sanctions worth an estimated $1 billion a year.
  2. North Korea also wants to show international community that it could revert quickly to provocations.

What is America’s Stand ?
Perhaps North Korea wishes to have direct nuclear talks with the United States so that US pushes to implement U.N. sanctions. However US administration seems to be as blunt.

What will happen to the Nuclear talks?
North Korea has repeatedly said that it sees that talk process is dead, now the time to come will tell what happens to the nuclear talks.



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