Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pyongyang and Regional Peace in Korean Peninsula

As concerns Pyongyang's new missle diplomacy, Zhang Haizhou (China Daily, 2009) wrote, "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) test-fired two more short-range missiles yesterday, ignoring international condemnation of its nuclear test on Monday and accusing the US of plotting against its government. The DPRK had test-fired three short-range missiles on Monday hours after conducting a nuclear test, drawing strong reactions from China and the rest of the world. Yesterday, too, China "firmly opposed" the DPRK's action, but asked the international community to remain calm in formulating a response. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said China is "resolutely opposed" to the nuclear test, and it urges the DPRK to return to the talkJustify Fulls. But any action taken by the UN Security Council should help resolve the issue peacefully, he said."
Further Zhang wrote, "The DPRK test-fired the two 13-km range missiles — one ground-to-air, the other ground-to-sea — from its east coast, the Republic of Korea's (ROK) Yonhap news agency said, citing an unnamed government official. Yonhap said the DPRK was preparing to launch a third missile from its west coast, again citing an unnamed official." All of this indicates that Pyongyang appears committed to acting contrary to the international community and international goals of eventually eliminating threat to regional peace in the Korean peninsula and stemming the international growth of nuclear weaponry.

China's Xinhua daily reported that, "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced Wednesday that it will no longer stand by the ceasefire agreement ending the 1950-53 Korean War, in response to South Korea's participation to the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). The DPRK's military said in a statement that it no longer considers itself bound by the armistice that ended the Korean War, a move seen as a strong protest over the South Korea's participation of the US-led program. The DPRK took South Korea's total participation to the US program as "a declaration of war," said the DPRK delegation in Panmunjom in a statement, the official KCNA news agency said. The statement said the DPRK would not guarantee the security of US and South Korean warships and civil ships in the west sea of the DPRK (Xinhua, 2009). . .

In early April of 2009, China called for calm when Pyongyang vowed to restart its nuclear reactor and boycott the Six-Party Talks for good in retaliation for the UN Security Council's condemnation of its rocket launch. "We hope the relevant parties proceed from the overall interest, and exercise calm and restraint to safeguard the process of the Six-Party Talks," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a press conference. . . (China Daily/Xinhua/Agencies, 2009).

The DPRK's swift denunciation of the council's "hostile" move came hours after all 15 members unanimously agreed to condemn the April 5 launch as a violation of UN resolutions and to tighten sanctions against the country. The UN statement, issued eight days after the launch, was weaker than the resolution Japan and the United States had pursued but still drew an angry response from Pyongyang, which called it "unjust" and a violation of international law. The DPRK said it sent a communications satellite into space as part of a peaceful bid to develop its space program; but the US and others call the launch an illicit test of the technology used to fire an intercontinental ballistic missile (China Daily/Xinhua/Agencies, 2009).

The present actions by Pyongyang only substantiate the pessimism of many experts concerning the future of nuclear talks. New approaches and strategies may be needed for addressing the issue of regional peace in the Korean peninsula, including how to stem the international growth of nuclear weaponry.

As one source earlier observed in April, Chinese analysts said yesterday that the chances of the Six-Party Talks resuming soon are slim, and the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula will remain in limbo now that Pyongyang has withdrawn from the disarmament talks. "There may be no such thing as the 'next step' for the disarmament talks," said Professor Piao Jianyi, chief of the Center of Korean Peninsula Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). He suggested that Washington come up with new strategies in dealing with the DPRK. "The Obama administration needs new ideas," he said, adding that Pyongyang may reactivate its nuclear facilities in three to six months. . . (China Daily/Xinhua/Agencies, 2009).


DPRK declares to tear up truce agreement, Xinhua, May 27, 2009.

Zhang Haizhou, Pyongyang defiant, tests 2 more missiles, China Daily, May 27, 2009.

DPRK to restart nuclear reactor, China Daily/Xinhua/Agencies, April 15, 2009.

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