PN's Voice 73

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 73, 25-02-2016
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PN's Voice No. 73   25. 02. 2016 
Small steps, Road to peace


S.Korea-U.S. Postpone THAAD Talks

South Korea and the United States have postponed the start of their scheduled working-level discussions on the deployment of THAAD in South Korea, due to ongoing talks between Beijing and Washington on further sanctions against North Korea.

Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Qiu Guohong expressed strong concerns about THAAD deployment in Korea during his meeting with Kim Jong-in, interim leader of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea, earlier this week. Qiu said during the meeting that the deployment seriously affects China's national interest; "If this issue damages China's national interest, bilateral relations between South Korea and China will be damaged too, and they will be difficult to quickly recover," he said.

Observers say that South Korea and the U.S. seem unlikely to push for the THAAD discussions until the current talks between U.S. and China are finished, considering that China has long been opposed to the deployment of a THAAD battery on the peninsula, out of concerns that its radar could spy on Beijing's military activities. China is also apparently concerned that the deployment would become an opportunity for South Korea, the U.S. and Japan to strengthen their military cooperation, which will expand American influence in Northeast Asia.

Additionally, it’s widely believed that the delay in discussions might have been designed not to provoke China ahead of the discussion of the U.N. resolution on North Korea, given that Beijing's cooperation is essential to implement meaningful sanctions, as it is one of five veto-holding permanent members of the UNSC (United Nations Security Council), and the main provider of food and fuel aid to the impoverished North.
The South Korean Ministry of Defense stressed that the decision over THAAD’s potential deployment is South Korea's sovereign right, and the issue is not linked with Beijing's participation in the UNSC discussions on sanctions.

Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Qiu Guohong expressed strong concerns about THAAD deployment in Korea during his meeting with Kim Jong-in, interim leader of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea, earlier this week. Qiu said during the meeting that the deployment seriously affects China's national interest; "If this issue damages China's national interest, bilateral relations between South Korea and China will be damaged too, and they will be difficult to quickly recover," he said.
Source : The Korea Times, KBS News, Yonhap News


S. Korean Military Issues Warning to N. Korea

The South Korean military issued a strong warning yesterday to North Korea after the latter threatened to strike Cheong Wa Dae. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) released the following statement “We strongly urge North Korea to stop its provocative actions that are driving itself toward destruction. If the North ignores our warning and goes through with its provocations, we will make it bitterly regret it through a stern retaliation as we are planned and prepared."

The intense criticism mentioning the "collapse" and "destruction" of the Kim regime comes a day after the Supreme Command of the (North) Korean People's Army issued a "crucial statement," criticizing South Korea and the U.S. for their joint annual war game, Key Resolve, and the field training drill Foal Eagle, scheduled to begin March 7 and run until April 30. During the drills, the allies are planning to apply their new joint wartime operational plan, dubbed Operation Plan (OPLAN) 5015, which reportedly includes a contingency for a "beheading operation" and preemptive strikes against the North's leadership and its key facilities.

The North, stating that its primary target is "Cheong Wa Dae and reactionary ruling machines," argued that its armed forces "will go into a preemptive and just operation to beat back the enemy forces to the last man if there is a slight sign of their special operation forces and equipment moving to carry out the so-called ‘beheading operation' and ‘high-density strike.'" It added that U.S. bases in the Asia-Pacific region and the U.S. mainland are its secondary striking targets.
Source : The Korea Times


State Department: US Rejected N. Korea Peace Talks Before Nuclear Test

The United States rejected a North Korean proposal to discuss a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War because it did not address denuclearization on the peninsula, the State Department said on Sunday. Spokesman John Kirby made the comment in response to a Wall Street Journal report that the White House secretly agreed to peace talks just before Pyongyang’s latest nuclear bomb test. The newspaper, citing US officials familiar with the events, said the Obama administration dropped its condition that Pyongyang take steps to curtail its nuclear arsenal before any peace talks, instead calling for North Korea’s atomic weapons program to be just one part of the discussion. Pyongyang declined the proposal, and its 6 January nuclear test ended the diplomatic plans, the newspaper reported.

“To be clear, it was the North Koreans who proposed discussing a peace treaty,” Kirby said in an emailed statement. “We carefully considered their proposal, and made clear that denuclearization had to be part of any such discussion. The North rejected our response,” he said. “Our response to the NK proposal was consistent with our longstanding focus on denuclearization.“

The isolated state has long sought a peace treaty with the US and other parties in the 1950-53 Korean War, as well as an end to military exercises by South Korea and the US, which has about 28,500 troops based in South Korea. This was illustrated on January 16th this year when Pyongyang had offered to freeze its nuclear development, in exchange for the suspension of joint military drills held annually by South Korea and the US.
Source : The Guardian


White House: US-China Agree on N. Korea Sanctions

The White House said Thursday the United States and China have agreed on a draft resolution imposing fresh sanctions on North Korea and the Security Council could vote on the measure in the coming days.

According to press reports, the U.S. circulated the draft text to the other three veto-wielding permanent council members ― Britain, France and Russia ― on Wednesday (local time) and was set to formally present it to the full 15-member council soon. "There is good progress on the resolution and we are hopeful that there will be an adoption in the coming days," a council diplomat was quoted as saying in the various reports.
After talks in Washington on Tuesday with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said "there is no question that if the resolution is approved, it will go beyond anything that we have previously passed." More recent reports have suggested these measures will include significantly limiting the transfer of Chinese oil to the North.
Source : The Korea Times, Yonhap News


The Diplomat’s Interview with Joel Wit

Lastly, The Diplomat’s recent interview with Joel Wit on how the US should deal with North Korea after its recent 4th nuclear test. As a senior fellow at the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University, and the founder/editor of 38 North Wit is an internationally recognized North Korean expert. Additionally, he was part of the US negotiation team that secured the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea. You can listen to his interview at the link below:
Source : The Diplomat


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