North Korean Nuclear Test: Implications for Asian Security, by Muthiah Alagappa

[Datuk Dr Muthiah Alagappa is Tun Hussein Onn Chair in International Studies at ISIS Malaysia and non-resident senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC. He is author-editor of Nuclear Weapons and Security in 21st Century Asia, published by Stanford University Press in 2008. The following article appeared in PacNet #10 as well as on the website of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace on Wednesday, 13 February 2013. –CanKor]

Muthia AlagappaNorth Korea carried out its third nuclear test on Feb. 13, 2013 after having successfully test-fired its long-range rocket in December 2012. Pyongyang is on its way to developing a nuclear weapon capability that can be delivered at short range and in due course over longer ranges including to the United States, China, and Russia. As expected, the international community has reacted to the test with calls for tighter sanctions and will try to induce North Korea to the long-stalled Six-Party Talks. These are unlikely to succeed.

Though paying a high price, North Korea is intent on developing a strategic nuclear deterrent against present and potential adversaries. The international community must recognize and attempt to integrate a nuclear North Korea into Asia and the world. This may be unpalatable to policymakers who have persisted with a sanction and roll back policy as well as for the bankrupt nonproliferation community. However, there is little else that the international community can do. It can bomb North Korea to oblivion but that carries risks and would serve no substantive political or strategic purpose. Read the rest of this entry »

First timid rapprochement between Japan & DPRK raises hopes

[Officials from Japan and North Korea held their first government-to-government talks in four years in Beijing on Wednesday, amid hopes that new leader Kim Jong Un will adopt a less confrontational approach to relations with the outside world. Taking steps toward rapprochement between Japan and the DPRK could see a re-engagement of Japan in humanitarian aid to North Korea, and a resolution to the outstanding abductee issue. The following article appeared in Singapore’s Channel NewsAsia on 24 August 2012, based on an AFP story. –CanKor]

Rewards await N.Korea for kidnap progress: Japan

Ryu Song-il, a North Korean Foreign Ministry official dealing with Japanese affairs, right, and an unidentified diplomat enter the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on Wednesday. (Photo: Reuters)

TOKYO: Japan on Friday offered tangible benefits to impoverished North Korea if it clears up long-standing mysteries over the fate of Japanese nationals kidnapped decades ago.

Tokyo and Pyongyang will hold working level talks in Beijing on Wednesday in the first face-to-face diplomatic meeting for four years, an event seen as one of the most significant diplomatic forays for Kim Jong-Un since he became leader of the reclusive state late last year.

“The abduction issue is a significant human rights problem and violation of sovereignty,” state minister Jin Matsubara told reporters.

“But if we can make a certain progress, Japan could give humanitarian aid, larger than other countries.

“North Korea and Japan, close geographically and historically, should be able to have a very good, mutually beneficial relationship.” Read the rest of this entry »

38 North: North Korea’s New Launch Site by David Wright

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

This article was originally published on 38 North on February 23, 2011. It has been reposted in light of DPRK’s announced intention to launch a satellite in April 2012.

Last week press stories announced that North Korea had completed a second launch site for long-range rockets, which is bigger and more sophisticated than its original site. Tim Brown and Joseph Bermudez of found the new site, called Tongch’ang-dong after a nearby town, using satellite images in 2008 and has been following its progress since then.

Previously, North Korea launched its multi-stage rockets from a site in Musudan-rion the east coast of the country, near the Sea of Japan. The most recent launch from that site was in April 2009 when the Unha-2 launcher failed to place a small satellite into orbit.

The new launch site is instead located on the west coast of the country (see Figure 1). Read the rest of this entry »

Nautilus Institute: Kim Jong Il’s Death Suggests Continuity Plus Opportunity to Engage

English: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Kim Jong Il

In the latest NAPSNet Policy Forum, Peter Hayes, Scott Bruce, and David von Hippel of the Nautilus Institute, write, “Ironically, Kim Jong Il’s death may make Korea the land of the morning calm for at least a year, during which political transitions will also occur in China, South Korea, Japan, Russia, and the United States… Unless Kim Jong Un throws the nuclear strategy out the window and starts again, the outlines of the engagement agenda are already clear—send the North Koreans energy and food aid to meet both short-term humanitarian and medium/long-term development needs, help them build a safe small light water reactor, and bring them into an international enrichment consortium that would lead them to reveal the sum total of their enrichment program.”

Full Report below:


I. Introduction
II. Report by Peter Hayes, Scott Bruce, and David von Hippel
III. Nautilus invites your responses

Read the rest of this entry »

DPRK donates funds for Japan disaster relief

Chongryon Headquarters in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan

Chongryon headquarters in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan

KCNA reported that the North Korean Red Cross sent $100,000 to its counterpart in Japan, expressing “deep sympathy” for victims of the disaster.

In a separate transaction, Kim Jong-Il sent $500,000 to Chongryon, the pro-Pyongyang Koreans living in Japan.

The DPRK has no diplomatic relations with Japan. In fact, the relationship between the two nations has never fully recovered from disputes over the North’s kidnapping of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.

Koreas may partner on volcano research

Baekdu Mountain, Jilin, China

Mount Paektu

Agence France-Presse and the Wall Street Journal both carried the news that North Korean authorities have proposed joint North-South research into Mt. Paektu. The spectacular volcano, which straddles the border between the DPRK and China,  has been quiet since its last eruption in 1903, but experts say its core may still be active.

The North’s earthquake bureau suggest the two countries jointly research the mountain given last week’s devastating quake and tsunami in Japan. Read the rest of this entry »

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