[CanKor Brain Trust member Prof. Victor Hsu, Director of International Aid and Education, Adjunct Advisor on North Korea at the School of Public Policy and Management, Korea Development Institute, sent us his musings on the media response to American basketball star Dennis Rodman’s visit with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un as well as reaction to North Korea’s nuclear test. –CanKor]
I want to give you my two cents worth regarding all the fuss about Rodman and the third nuclear test.
On Rodman’s visit, if the officialdom would not engage, if the officialdom does not take a pro-active stance to engage, if the officialdom simply refuses to engage, then what option does the DPRK have but to engage with non-officialdom types like the NY Symphony, Rodman and Eric Schmidt?
I might add that the media do not see these steps as DPRK opening up! What about the lifting of restrictions on tour groups to visit the country? What about the permission to use the Internet and mobile phones?
You have to ask yourself whether the DPRK can ever do anything right? Or are they condemned to oblivion unless there is a pro-USA regime change? On the international response to the third nuclear test, is is all too deja vu. There is little analysis by the commentariat. Most of the blogs and experts are simply saying the obvious about the UNSC, the role of China and are now predicting a worsening of Inter-Korean relations. In fact, the experts seem to want military action because they are at their wits end about the “maddening” lack of cooperation of the DPRK. They have put themselves in a “No Exit” CVID analysis. [CVID stands for Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Dismantlement. –CanKor]
Let me be bold enough to predict that the Inter-Korean relations will EVENTUALLY emerge from the haze and for and return to sunshine days. We are in a predictable post-test interregnum in which no policy expert in Washington, Beijing and Tokyo dares to deviate from conventional wisdom. No government has the courage to lead. I believe that Inter-Korean relations are headed for better days which can be hastened by a positive attitude among the non-Korean 6-party powers. It is a matter of time that the ROK and the DPRK retrun to the pre-Agreed Framework Feb 19, 1992 Joint Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-Aggression, Cooperation and Exchanges. This Joint Agreement will be the basis for confidence building measures between the two sides, regardless of the bilateral agreements between the DPRK and the outside powers.
Madam Park’s inaugural address is being quoted as an indication of her coming policy towards the North. That analysis is only partially accurate. She has no choice given the interregnum and the current international consensus about possible sanctions to come. The articles that appeared in Foreign Affairs and in the Wall Street Journal are more representative of her views about the direction of her DPRK policy that she is interested in pursuing.