Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 07, 29-07-2014
Small steps, Road to peace
Anniversary of the End of the Korean War Marked by Further NK Missile Tests
Sunday not only marked the 61st anniversary of the signing of the Armistice Agreement that halted the 1950-53 Korean War, but also saw the latest in a recent flurry of North Korean missile tests. The latest missile launch was believed to be a short-range Scud missile that was launched into the East Sea.
Whilst it is not unusual for North Korea to test-fire missiles, artillery and rockets, the number of weapons tests it has conducted this year is much higher than in previous years; Saturday's firing is the 15th time that the North has launched rockets this year. Analysts have stated that this indicates that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un is diverging from his father’s strategy of sparingly using longer-range missile and nuclear tests as bargaining chips to win concessions.
The discussions on the issue of North Korean missile launches took place at the request of the South Korean government. The South Korean government felt that the lack of a response from the Security Council could be seen as encouraging North Korea to push the boundaries and continue on with missile testing.
This latest missile test was slammed by the U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti: “Their continued opposition and defiance of the U.N. Security Council resolutions, as well as the international community norms ― it is not acceptable and further isolates them from the international community and further deprives their people of any hope of prosperity in the future.”
Commander General Scaparrotti also pointed out that Pyongyang fired missiles and rockets without any safety warning, such as designating a no-fly and no-sail zone. The commander also stressed the danger of this move for and the compromised safety of innocent people at sea and in the air.
South Korean experts believe that the late night timing of Sunday’s missile launch are an attempt from the North to illustrate its ability to mount missile attacks at any time, as well as from a variety of different sites. This viewed is backed up by the varying launch sites used in the North for recent missile launches.
Sunday’s missile test is the latest episode in a series of the North’s two pronged-strategy of both seeking peace efforts, whilst illustrating its military might and ability. Analysts believe that the North’s testing of weapons won’t stop unless rivals South Korea and the United States make a major concession, such as downsizing their regular joint military drills or conducting them in a low-key manner. Pyongyang proclaims the drills by Seoul and Washington a rehearsal for an invasion of the North, though the allies say they have no intention of this at all. Annual summertime exercises by South Korean and U.S. troops are penciled to start in August.
Source : firstname.lastname@example.org&;OZTRACKING=0ec37b941ded0b6aada227c91d6e5d4d&url=http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140727000215">The Korean Herald, email@example.com&;OZTRACKING=419b5e0d3ed4a939f27c046202519078&url=http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2992620&cloc=joongangdaily%7Chome%7Cnewslist1">, Joongang Daily, firstname.lastname@example.org&;OZTRACKING=c07ad01bf68a16721d31e273c883078c&url=http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/07/27/12/0301000000AEN20140727002400320F.html">Yonhap News
China and South Korea Set-up Military Hotline
Following Chinese President Xi’s much publicized visit to Seoul two weeks ago, China and South Korea held their fourth Defense Strategic Dialogue last Wednesday in Beijing. The two sides discussed North Korea, in particular their concern over the North’s missile and nuclear programs. During these talks a “memorandum of understanding” was signed which will see the establishment of a defense hotline between the defense ministers of Seoul and Beijing.
It’s thought that both China and Korea would have used the talks to raise their concerns over Japan’s recent decision to reinterpret Article 9 of its constitution allowing for its military to participate in collective self-defense. Japanese-Korean relations have been strained under Japanese Prime Minster Abe’s reign, but particularly since the reinterpretation of Article 9. Concerns of Abe’s nationalistic posturing have brought up the ghost of the militarism of Imperial Japan, something which has put its neighbors on alert. It is these circumstances that have helped to push China and South Korea into a recent closer alliance.
A spokesperson for the Korean Ministry of Defense, noted that the high-level military hotline “will play a role as a communication channel to invigorate the military cooperation of each country and assure security in the Northeast Asia region.” It’s believed that the hotline will primarily be intended to facilitate prompt high-level communication between Beijing and Seoul on North Korea. The hotline could prove crucial during any significant military altercation involving North Korea. The Seoul-Beijing hotline would be only South Korea’s second direct high-level military hotline, as currently Seoul only has a hotline with Washington.
Source : email@example.com&;OZTRACKING=a6c399148f8fe9ab1d3753cc979b14ee&url=http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/china-south-korea-establish-military-hotline/">The Diplomat
Opinion Piece: Contingency Plans for North Korea
Finally, this week I would like to highly recommend our readers check out the excellent opinion piece by Yun Sun on 38 North (link at the bottom). The report details motives and strategies that may be included in both a Chinese and South Korean-US contingency plan for North Korea were the state to collapse.
The article argues that any ROK-US-China trilateral contingency planning on North Korea would be highly unlikely to occur as the three have different interests and aims for North Korea, particularly in terms of the ‘end game’ for a North Korean contingency plan. The author explains in detail that China would be to cooperate with the US-ROK in North Korea if the ultimate aim is simply to eradicate WMDs. However, the US-ROK end game is likely to expand beyond denuclearization and include stabilization of the North and an eventual South Korean led reunification. It is this situation that China fears and therefore, according to the author, is planning to avoid. If the Korean peninsula were to be reunited under the South Korean regime it would see a new power equilibrium on the Korean peninsula. A reunified Korea would also likely be pro-US or at least heavily influenced by the US. This would be a great blow to China who perhaps hope their end game in a North Korean contingency plan to be the preservation of the state as a buffer zone for China. If the North Korean state were to collapse China would lose a lot of strategi leverage in vis-a-vis South Korea and the U.S. Therefore, the preservation of the current, or establishment of a new Chinese-leaning regime is keen as key to China.
I highly recommend you read the 38 North article for more information.
I’ve have also attached a link to an article which appeared on Daily NK a couple of months ago, which reports on an allegedly leaked Chinese military document which lists detailed plans for any potential collapse of the North Korean state. The plans include establishing camps to deal with the refugee influx as well as an increased military personal presence along border areas again to prevent a refugee influx, but also to intercept any breakaway military soldiers. Securitization of refugees is also mentioned in the report. Whilst not mentioned in the report, the securing and safe storage of any nuclear weapons would no doubt be a top priority as well.
Source : firstname.lastname@example.org&;OZTRACKING=e5ccb8b771e7c85418a130d06e6be298&url=http://38north.org/2014/07/ysun072514/">38 North, email@example.com&;OZTRACKING=39687992b2ccd623ea755beed708f29a&url=http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?num=11836&cataId=nk00100">Daily NK