US reaction to European food aid by Chris Nelson

[The following item is taken from the 6 July 2011 edition of the Nelson Report, with the kind permission of the author. –CanKor.]

We are reliably informed by experts like Marc Noland at Peterson IIE that the 10-million Euro program announced by Europe over the weekend is not “fairly large”, as we suggested last night, but in fact rather modest, in comparison to previous international efforts.

Yonhap has an excellent summary of the situation on a briefing by US State Department‘s Victoria Nuland (following this introduction) to which we would add one or two bits of analysis, based on our own probings:

We are told to take with a grain of salt any claim the US is close to agreeing with the Europeans on this, unless you understand that in fact, it appears the Euro’s food is seen by the donors as “the least they could do, so they did it”, given the generally “soft” Euro humanitarianism in the face of unpleasant strategic realities. Read the rest of this entry »

Perspectives on DPRK blast against ROK President Lee by Nelson, Witt, Revere et al

[The following is taken from the 31 May 2011 edition of The Nelson Report, with kind permission by Chris Nelson. Joel Witt is Editor of our “Partner” 38North, a project of SAIS (Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University). Evans Revere was the US State Department’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and former CEO of the Korea Society in the USA. –CanKor.]


The official DPRK news service, KCNA, delivered a harshly worded blast declaring that it would “never” negotiate with ROK President Lee…so we pulsed our Loyal Reader Korea Network for thoughts, and have some “on the record” responses from former PDAS Evans Revere, and former Clinton-era nuclear negotiator Joel Witt, plus a cross section of the “must be protected” experts for your consideration, below. Read the rest of this entry »

Preparing for Change in North Korea: Shifting Out of Neutral by Michael J. Mazarr

[This paper by Michael J. Mazarr & the Study Group on North Korean Future comes in the Korea Economic Institute (KEI) Academic Paper Series Volume 6, Number 3 of April 2011. The study was undertaken to assess possible futures for the North Korean regime and the Korean peninsula that could affect U.S. and regional interests, and to consider which U.S. and regional strategies and policy actions could both prepare for possible outcomes and shape those outcomes to better serve U.S. Interests. Below we give you first a review of the document by Chris Nelson, and then the main titles of the recommendations of the report. To read the full report, click on the link at the bottom. –CanKor.]


The Mazarr team’s report is purely “personal” in the sense that it’s not official USG or NDU, but given the make-up of the group, including US and allied military and itel folks, it’s a remarkably broadly cast net of analysis of current and future problems, with some frank, tough-minded recommendations which run directly counter to current USG policy.

Sample key finding: the group disagrees with the apparent underlying basis for all US policy, that at some point the DPRK will surrender its nuclear weapons in return for the right mix of benefits and inducements. In fact, as the group knows, no senior US policy-maker any longer suffers from such a delusion. Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on Hsu article by David Straub

[CanKor readers are already familiar with the article referred to in this commentary by CanKor Brain Trust member Professor Victor W. Hsu, Korean Development Institute School of Public Policy and Management & Former National Director for North Korea of World Vision International. An excerpt is provided below. To read the full article, please click here.]

South Korea’s Humanitarian Dilemma, by Victor Hsu

On March 22, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Unification, Lee Jong-joo announced that “there are no plans for direct government-to-government humanitarian aid” to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). But the government is “considering when and how to resume humanitarian aid provided by South Korean NGOs.” This is certainly a step in the right direction given that in recent months the Republic of Korea (ROK) government officials have had to encounter enquiries not only by their own civil society but also by other governments and various United Nations officials. Read the rest of this entry »

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