“Immortal Feats for DPRK-China Friendship”

[Under the above title, the DPRK’s most authoritative newspaper Rodong Sinmun published a rare editorial on the eve of the new Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s first summit meeting with US President Barack Obama in California. Rodong Sinmun is the official organ of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Ostensibly, the occasion for the editorial is the 30th anniversary of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s first visit to China. It is a legacy to which young leader Kim Jong Un is said to be paying “great attention”. The China-DPRK friendship will go “a long way towards stabilizing the situation in the Korean Peninsula,” says the editorial, without wasting a single word on the nuclear question, a topic that will likely figure prominently in the Obama-Xi talks. –CanKor]

Xi, right, and Pyongyang's special envoy Choe Ryong-hae meet in Beijing. (Photo by Xinhua)

Xi, right, and Pyongyang’s special envoy Choe Ryong-hae meet in Beijing. (Photo by Xinhua)

This is the 30th year since Leader Kim Jong Il’s first visit to China from June 1 to 13, 1983. His train trip covered a total of 6 250 km, making more solid the DPRK-China friendship provided and kept in bloom by the leaders of old generations of the two countries.

It is a beautiful tradition for the leaders of the two countries to frequently visit each other like brothers without being restricted by any diplomatic conventions and rules and share and deepen the friendly feelings.

The 30 years that followed his first visit to China furnished an ample proof that the DPRK-China friendship would be unbreakable.

Over the past 30 years the situation of Korea and the North East Asia was very complex, but the two countries supported and closely cooperated with each other in their struggle for socialist construction and national unity. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Park Geun-hye actually said about North Korea in Washington

Remarks by President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea to a Joint Session of Congress

Location: House Chamber, The Capitol, Washington, D.C., Time: 10:39 a.m. EDT, Date: Wednesday, 8 May 2013

ROK President Park Geun-hye addresses a joint meeting of Congress in Washington 8 May 2013. (Photo from Ebru News)

ROK President Park Geun-hye addresses a joint meeting of Congress in Washington 8 May 2013. (Photo from Ebru News)

PRESIDENT PARK GEUN-HYE:

Speaker Boehner, Vice President Biden, distinguished members of the House and the Senate, ladies and gentlemen, I’m privileged to stand in this chamber, this hallowed ground of freedom and democracy, to speak about our friendship and our future together.

After I arrived in Washington the day before yesterday, I went to the Korean War Memorial, near the banks of the Potomac. I read the words etched in granite. Our nation honors the sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met. Time and again, I’m moved when I read those familiar words. (Applause.)

Let me express on behalf of the people of the Republic of Korea our profound gratitude to America’s veterans. Their blood, sweat and tears helped safeguard freedom and democracy. (Applause.) Read the rest of this entry »

President Obama’s Edsel problem, by Donald P. Gregg

[Donald P. Gregg is a retired diplomat, currently serving as chairman of the Pacific Century Institute. From 1951 to 1982 he worked for the CIA. He was national security advisor to US Vice President George H. W. Bush. He served as United States Ambassador to South Korea from 1989 to 1993. During the time he was chairman of the board of The Korea Society in the USA, he called for greater engagement with North Korea. He wrote this opinion piece for The Korea Times on 11 April 2013. –CanKor]

Donald Gregg

Fifty-five years ago, the Ford Motor Company unveiled its highly advertised new car, the Edsel, which it expected to sell spectacularly. Instead, the Edsel flopped from the moment of its introduction, and is now rated one of the 50 worst cars of all time.

How did that come about? Apparently in those days Detroit’s engineers were vulnerable to a virulent form of groupthink that produced failure, not success.

I fear that today President Obama has a sort of “Edsel problem” as far as his North Korea policy is concerned. Many Washington policymakers focused on Korea have, since the advent of the George W. Bush administration, fallen victim to the collective belief that talking to North Korea would be a form of rewarding bad behavior on Pyongyang’s part, and that pressure, in terms of sanctions and military threats can wean North Korea away from its belief that developing nuclear weapons is the surest way to protect itself from U.S. attacks. Read the rest of this entry »

Security in Korea – the US view, by Tom Donilon

[Thomas E. Donilon is National Security Advisor to US President Barack Obama. The following is an excerpt of his speech at a function of the The Asia Society, delivered in New York City on 11 March 2013. The title of his presentation was “The United States and the Asia-Pacific in 2013”. We reproduce the section of his remarks dealing with the President’s North Korea policies. You may view and listen to the whole speech and subsequent discussion on the website of the Asia Society here. –CanKor]

Tom Danilon is National Security Advisor to US President Barack Obama (Photo by Alex Wong, Getty Images)

Tom Danilon is National Security Advisor to US President Barack Obama (Photo by Alex Wong, Getty Images)

(…)

President Obama has clearly stated that we will maintain our security presence and engagement in the Asia-Pacific. Specifically, our defense spending and programs will continue to support our key priorities – from our enduring presence on the Korean Peninsula to our strategic presence in the western Pacific.

This means that in the coming years a higher proportion of our military assets will be in the Pacific. Sixty percent of our naval fleet will be based in the Pacific by 2020. Our Air Force is also shifting its weight to the Pacific over the next five years. We are adding capacity from both the Army and the Marines. The Pentagon is working to prioritize the Pacific Command for our most modern capabilities – including submarines, Fifth-Generation Fighters such as F-22s and F-35s, and reconnaissance platforms. And we are working with allies to make rapid progress in expanding radar and missile defense systems to protect against the most immediate threat facing our allies and the entire region: the dangerous, destabilizing behavior of North Korea. Read the rest of this entry »

Confrontation Over Korea: Memorandum to US President Obama by Jonathan D. Pollack

[For the inauguration of US President Barack Obama’s second term of office, a number of Foreign Policy scholars at the Brookings Institution prepared a “Presidential Briefing Book” entitled “Big Bets & Black Swans”, published on 17 January 2013. The “big bets,” according to the introduction, are places where the Foreign Policy scholars believe the President should consider investing his power, time and prestige in major efforts that can have a transformational impact on America and the world, as well as on his legacy. The “black swans” are those low probability but high impact events that can trip the President up and divert him from his higher purposes; events so dramatically negative that he will need to take steps in advance to avoid them. Predictably, the black swans include the DPRK. In his Memorandum to the President, Jonathan Pollack posits an impending severe internal crisis in North Korea, which will engender a serious risk of an acute US-China confrontation or even a direct military conflict over Korea. Pollack is convinced that neither China nor the USA desire such a confrontation, and offers a four-part recommendation to begin a process of US-China understanding that would serve to avoid such a worst-case scenario. Jonathan D. Pollack is Acting Director of the John L. Thornton China Center, and Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, at Brookings. –CanKor]

Jonathan D. Pollack (video capture from World News Inc.)

Jonathan D. Pollack (video capture from World News Inc.)

M E M O R A N D U M

To: President Obama

From: Jonathan Pollack

DATE: January 17, 2013

BLACK SWAN: Confrontation Over Korea

There is a serious risk of an acute U.S.-China confrontation or even a direct military conflict over Korea. Neither Washington nor Beijing seek this kind of conflict, but North Korea’s severe internal crisis has impelled the United States and China to prepare to intervene in the North, both to protect their respective vital interests and to forestall larger risks to the peace. Pyongyang has a long record of lashing out at neighboring states (especially our South Korean ally) to warn outside powers against any possible intervention in its internal affairs. But this threat now encompasses the potential use of nuclear weapons. Any possible nuclear use by North Korea, even if undertaken within its own borders, represents an acute danger to the region as a whole. If Washington and Beijing fail to coordinate and communicate, we could face the possibility of a U.S.-China confrontation almost unimaginable in its consequences. Read the rest of this entry »

“No Hostile Intent” Toward North Korea: US President Obama at Hankuk University

[The following are excerpts of a speech by US President Barack Obama to students of Hankuk University in Seoul, ROK. The text is from a release by the White House Office of the Press Secretary, dated “For Immediate Release March 26, 2012, 10:32 a.m. KST, Seoul, Republic of Korea”. We have pulled out those sections of the speech related directly to the DPRK. –CanKor]

US President Barack Obama speaks to DPRK leaders during a speech at Hankuk University in Seoul on Monday. (Photo by Susan Walsh/AP)

(…)

Here in Korea, I want to speak directly to the leaders in Pyongyang. The United States has no hostile intent toward your country. We are committed to peace. And we are prepared to take steps to improve relations, which is why we have offered nutritional aid to North Korean mothers and children.

But by now it should be clear, your provocations and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not achieved the security you seek; they have undermined it. Instead of the dignity you desire, you’re more isolated. Instead of earning the respect of the world, you’ve been met with strong sanctions and condemnation. You can continue down the road you are on, but we know where that leads. It leads to more of the same — more broken dreams, more isolation, ever more distance between the people of North Korea and the dignity and the opportunity that they deserve.

And know this: There will be no rewards for provocations. Those days are over. To the leaders of Pyongyang I say, this is the choice before you. This is the decision that you must make. Today we say, Pyongyang, have the courage to pursue peace and give a better life to the people of North Korea. (Applause.) Read the rest of this entry »

38 North: The US-DPRK “Choose Your Own Adventure” Experience by Andray Abrahamian

[From time to time CanKor alerts readers to papers published by our partner-site 38North. The following article is authored by  Andray Abrahamian.  Please follow our link to the current article on the 38North site. –CanKor]

The US-DPRK deal signed last month is a softline message; the Satellite Launch is a hardline one. Washington would do well to ignore the hardline one.

In 1962, with the United States and the USSR seemingly spiraling towards nuclear war, Khrushchev and Kennedy engineered history’s most important diplomatic breakthrough.

At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, with both the White House and the Kremlin under incredible pressure, Khrushchev sent Kennedy a message that demanded a declaration of non-aggression from the United States towards Cuba in return for a Soviet withdrawal. The next morning, however, after consultation with government officials more inclined to take a harder line, Khrushchev sent Kennedy a second letter. This one demanded the United States remove its Jupiter missiles from Italy and Turkey as part of the deal, a proposal that would have made Kennedy appear to cave to high-stakes blackmail had he accepted it. Read the rest of this entry »

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